Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

A late application is an application received less than 14 days before a court date or time limit in the legal proceedings. Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) must have enough time to assess an application for a grant of legal assistance.

Making a late application may result in removal from VLA’s panels

VLA may remove a lawyer from a Section 29A Panel and from the Section 30 Referral Panel if:

  • VLA receives an application for a grant of legal assistance from the lawyer 14 days or less before the date fixed for a criminal trial
  • the lawyer has no reasonable excuse for the late application.

See: VLA’s referral and practitioner panels

The lawyer (or the person applying for a grant of legal assistance) must comply with any time limits in the relevant legal proceedings. This means that, when they send the application form to VLA, they must give VLA enough time before the end of any legal or court-imposed time limit to do all of the following:

  • assess the application
  • make a decision about whether or not to make a grant of legal assistance
  • advise of the outcome of the application.

VLA is not responsible for the consequences of any missed time limit – even if the lawyer (or the person applying) lodged the application at VLA before the end of the time limit.

See also: Urgent applications

When an adjournment may be required

VLA may require a person applying for a grant of legal assistance to apply to court to adjourn their case, at their own expense, if:

  • their case is fixed for trial or hearing
  • VLA receives a late application from them either for an initial grant or for an extension of a grant.

The person may apply for an adjournment by either:

  • attending court themselves
  • using the services of the duty lawyer at the court.

The adjournment gives VLA a reasonable opportunity to assess the application.

Reviewed 21 February 2022

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