Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Guideline 3.1 – litigation in matters involving international child abduction

Note: The lawyer is not required to assess eligibility under this guideline. Applications are submitted to ATLAS for assessment by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA).


VLA may make a grant of assistance for a person for litigation in international child abduction matters where:

  1. a child has been wrongfully removed to (or kept in) Australia from certain countries to either:
    1. defend a court application made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Child Abduction Convention) for the return of a child to a Hague Child Abduction Convention country, and/or to spend time with a child living in Australia
    2. apply to a court under a bilateral agreement in relation to a child who has been wrongfully removed to Australia.


  1. a child has been wrongfully removed from Australia to (or kept in) certain countries, to make an application to the court under the Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986 for a declaration that that the removal of a child from Australia to a Hague Child Abduction Convention country is wrongful within the meaning of the Hague Child Abduction Convention
  2. the following threshold tests are met:

Fees available

For information about fees available for a grant under this guideline, see Fee table 4.1.

Costs where an ICL is appointed

In matters where an independent children's lawyer (ICL) is appointed, parties may be required to contribute to the costs of the ICL. For more information, see Contribution to the cost of representation by an ICL.

Documentary requirements

Lawyers submitting an application in ATLAS must ensure that evidence supporting the application is uploaded to ATLAS with the application.

Notes on this guideline

For commentary and examples on the eligibility criteria, grants assessment process, documentary requirements and fees and billing relevant to this guideline, see the Notes on guideline 3.1.

Reviewed 19 April 2023

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