Commonwealth civil law matters

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of assistance to a person for a civil proceeding under Commonwealth law if:

  • the matter is a Commonwealth civil law matter within the Commonwealth legal aid priorities set out in the National Commonwealth Legal Aid Guidelines
  • the matter is not a type for which the Board of VLA has determined that funding is no longer available
  • the legal proceedings are to take place in Victoria (the forum test)
  • usually, VLA considers the person cannot afford the full cost of private legal services (the means test)
  • the matter and the person meet the Commonwealth merits test.

However, VLA may make a grant of assistance to a war veteran or a dependant of a war veteran for certain proceedings under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (Cth) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (Cth) without applying the means test.

Commonwealth civil law guidelines

The Commonwealth civil law guidelines set out when a grant of legal assistance may be made in relation to the following Commonwealth civil law matters being heard or determined in Victoria:

  • general civil claims
  • social security or other Commonwealth benefits matters
  • migration cases
  • equal opportunity or discrimination cases
  • war veterans' matters
  • certain Federal Court or High Court proceedings
  • extradition proceedings
  • proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.