Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Guideline 9.3 – urgent ligation in family law property disputes

Note: This guideline must be read in conjunction with Guideline 9.


Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a limited grant of legal assistance to a person for litigation to apply for an urgent family law property application to preserve the property pool or obtain necessary financial disclosure, where:

  1. the estimated total net property pool is $500,000 or less (or where the person applying for assistance’s estimated total net claim is $250,000 or less), excluding superannuation, and
  2. without an urgent court order the person’s claim to the net asset pool will be significantly and irretrievably dissipated, and
  3. the person seeking a grant of assistance is more likely than not to succeed in their application to the court.

Once the urgent issue in dispute is resolved, the person must attempt to resolve the dispute by attending VLA’s Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS), unless the matter is assessed by FDRS as unsuitable or unable to proceed. There must be evidence kept on the file showing the attempt to resolve the dispute at VLA’s FDRS.

Documentary requirements

Lawyers submitting an application must ensure that evidence supporting the application is kept on the file. Lawyers are also encouraged to complete a Family law worksheet and a Proof of means worksheet for their file, available on the Invoice, forms and worksheets page.

Fees available

For information about fees available for a grant under this guideline, see fee table 4.4.

Ongoing assessment that client meets the guidelines

The lawyer must inform us if, at any point during the life of the grant, they are no longer satisfied that the client meets the guideline.

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 9.3.

Reviewed 07 August 2023

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