Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance to a person for representation at a criminal trial in the County Court or in the Supreme Court only if:
- the charges cannot be heard and disposed of in the Magistrates’ Court (unless, if they can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court, there are compelling reasons why they should not be)
- it is desirable in the interests of justice to provide a grant of assistance.
County Court trials and Supreme Court trials
VLA will provide a fee for:
- the instructing practitioner who has prepared the matter for trial
- an instructing practitioner who is experienced and well-versed in the facts of the case and the relevant law
- junior counsel, where the assigned practitioner in consultation with their client determines that it is more appropriate to ensure a fair trial in the particular case
- junior counsel, where a practitioner who meets subsection a) or b) is not available or not preferred
as and when required at court in a criminal trial.
Requirement for counsel's written merits advice
Upon conviction and sentence, counsel is required to provide a written advice as to the merits of an appeal against conviction and/or sentence within 7 days of sentence. The fee for such advice is set out in .
Requirement to brief a barrister from the Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List
Exceptions to briefing a preferred barrister will only be granted for a major criminal trial in exceptional circumstances.
VLA may provide a grant of assistance for the briefing of trial counsel who is senior counsel in complex trials. Where the briefing of senior counsel is approved, the fees are not to exceed the fees for senior counsel set out in .
For more information and guidance on interpreting and applying this guideline, see these resources:
Reviewed 19 April 2023