Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance to a war veteran or to a dependant of a war veteran for an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) from:
- a decision of the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) about war-caused disability pension entitlements or assessment claims under Part II of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986
- a decision of the VRB about claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 relating to warlike or non-warlike service, if those decisions are about:
- acceptance of liability under Chapter 2 of the Act
- rehabilitation programs under Part 2 of Chapter 3 of the Act
- permanent impairment under Part 2 of Chapter 4 of the Act
- incapacity payments for former members of the Australian Defence Force under Part 4 of Chapter 4 of the Act
- the special rate disability pension under Part 6 of Chapter 4 of the Act and/or
- dependants’ benefits under Chapter 5 of the Act.
An application for a grant of legal assistance under this guideline is not subject to the means test or requirement of a contribution towards the cost of legal assistance, other than to the extent of any costs recovered in the matter.
Liability for costs in appeals
It is important to note that if veterans decide to appeal against a decision of the AAT, they may be exposed to a liability for the Repatriation Commission’s costs of defending the appeal. The practitioners for veterans are specifically required to point this out to the legally assisted veteran.
VLA’s funding at each stage must comply with the General Practice Direction of the Administrative Appeals .
See also: Commonwealth civil law guideline 6 in relation to grants of legal assistance for an appeal from a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Applications under this guideline can only be submitted via the standard grants assessment process.
An in-house lawyer or a member of the section 30 referral panel seeking a grant of legal assistance should submit an application via for assessment, including all of the following documents:
- details of any disability or impairment claimed, decision of the Veteran’s Review Board and report is released or required
- reference to how the matter meets the Commonwealth merits test.
Please see Fee Schedule 6.
Reviewed 20 February 2022