Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Guideline 3.2 – FDRS 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).

Before applying for a grant of assistance for a person to attend VLA’s Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS), lawyers should read the following important information about FDRS.


VLA may make a grant of assistance for litigation intervention FDRS 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 court orders the parties to participate in family dispute resolution
  2. the following threshold tests are met:

Documentary requirements

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

Fees available

For information about fees available for a grant under this guideline, see Stage 2H – litigation intervention FDRS.

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.

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 3.2.

Reviewed 19 April 2023

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