Counsel's fees

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) pays fees directly to counsel or to lawyer advocates who are briefed by private lawyers.

Payments in lump sum fee matters

In family law matters (except interim or final defended hearings) to which lump sum fees apply, counsel or a lawyer advocate must negotiate their fee with the lawyer. The lawyer must pay counsel’s fee out of the relevant lump sum fee which VLA pays them.

If a lawyer briefs counsel (or an agent) in any matter coming within the tables below the brief fee must not be less than the appearance fee listed in the relevant table contained in:

The requirement that the lawyer must pay counsel's fee out of the relevant lump sum fee paid to them also applies to matters prior to 18 January 2011, as set out in Fee Schedule 7 – superceded fee tables in the VLA Handbook (September 2011).

Payments to counsel in all other matters

In all other matters, counsel must send their fee slip to the instructing lawyer. The instructing lawyer must then claim counsel’s fee as a disbursement in the tax invoice they give VLA and promptly give VLA:

  • the tax invoice
  • a copy of the backsheet
  • a copy of counsel’s fee slip.