Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) considers that it is usually most appropriate for applications for parenting orders to be made by adults. See Who can apply for legal assistance in family law matters for more information about the circumstances in which children can be represented in family law matters.

A grant of legal assistance may be available for both adults and children in parenting disputes.

We may make a grant of assistance for a child to be represented by a lawyer in parenting disputes in two ways:

  1. by anindependent children’s lawyer (ICL), where the ICL represents and promotes the best interests of the child in the dispute between the parties:


  1. as a child litigant, where the child is a party to the dispute and the lawyer, who is not an ICL, acts on the instructions of the child:

Providing a grant of assistance to a child litigant in parenting disputes is rare and occurs only in very limited circumstances. This includes where the person under 18 is the child who is the subject of the dispute relating to their care or welfare, and where they are a parent of a child who is the subject of a dispute. Applications made on behalf of a child are submitted for consideration in ATLAS for assessment by us.

For commentary and examples on the eligibility criteria, grants assessment process, documentary requirements and fees and billing under each guideline, see the notes relevant to each guideline.

Reviewed 20 April 2023

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