Guideline 5 – war veterans' matters


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 (Cth)
  • a decision of the VRB about claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (Cth) 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.

Staged funding

VLA’s funding at each stage must comply with the General Practice Direction of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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.

Documentary requirements

Applications under this guideline can only be submitted via the standard grants assessment process.

An in-house lawyer or a lawyer on the section 30 referral panel seeking a grant of legal assistance should submit an application via ATLAS for assessment, including all of the following documents:

  • details of any disability or impairment claimed,
  • decision of the Veteran’s Review Board (if required)
  • reference to how the matter meets the Commonwealth merits test.

Costs payable

Please see Fee Schedule 6.