Note: The lawyer is not required to assess eligibility under this guideline. Grants under this guideline are assessed by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) and allocated to practitioners on the independent children's lawyer (ICL) panel.
- a court orders separate representation of the and asks us to appoint an ICL
- VLA decides that it is reasonable in the circumstances to make a grant of assistance for separate representation of the .
ICLs may also get assistance for time-limited ongoing work necessary for the implementation of orders.
Following allocation of the matter to an ICL, VLA will put a grant of assistance in place through . Lawyers will then be able to submit extension applications via ATLAS in the usual way ensuring that evidence supporting the extension is kept on the file.
Appearing and instructing as an ICL
Where the ICL has briefed counsel to appear at the final hearing, VLA may provide a limited instructing fee for the ICL to instruct at key points of the final hearing where it is essential for the ICL to form an opinion as to what is in the ’s best interests based on the evidence.
Contribution to the cost of repr esentation by an ICL
When making a grant of assistance for an ICL, VLA will consider the ability of the parties to the dispute to contribute to the associated costs. This includes costs associated with preparation of a family report and the professional costs and associated with the grant of legal assistance for the ICL.
We may determine an amount to be paid by each party, taking into account their:
- capacity to pay
- legally assisted status, and
- contributions assessed to pay in other legally assisted matters.
The requirement for parties to contribute to the costs of an ICL does not apply to proceedings relating to , regardless of whether any of the parties to the proceedings is in receipt of a grant of legal assistance.
If a party does not pay their share
If a party refuses or fails to pay the amount determined, then we must continue to provide a grant of legal assistance for the ICL.
However, we will do so only on condition that:
- the ICL seeks an order for costs against that party at an appropriate time in the court proceedings
- it is appropriate to seek an order for costs under section 117 of the .
If at least one of the parties to the court proceedings is not receiving a grant of legal assistance
If VLA make a grant of legal assistance for the separate representation of a child by an ICL in court proceedings and at least one of the parties to the proceedings has not been provided with a grant of legal assistance, then, usually, VLA must:
- tell each party not receiving a grant of legal assistance that each may have to pay an equal portion of the total costs and disbursements of the ICL
- take into account the capacity to pay of each party not receiving a grant of legal assistance, and determine whether to waive or to reduce the amount that each party must pay
- tell each party not receiving a grant of legal assistance of the amount which VLA requires them to pay
- require each party not receiving a grant of legal assistance to pay the necessary amount in the way VLA have determined.
Notes on this guideline
Reviewed 19 April 2023