Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

The appropriateness of spending limited public legal aid funds test

In most cases, the person seeking a grant of assistance must give enough information to their lawyer (if they have one) and to Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) to satisfy their lawyer and us that the costs involved in granting assistance are justified by:

  • the likely benefit to the person seeking the grant of assistance
    or if appropriate
  • the likely benefit to the community.

The person making the assessment (the person’s lawyer or our Grants and Quality Assurance Unit) must weigh the cost of the desired legal services against the likely benefits to the person or to the community. Sometimes, even if a court might make the orders the person seeks, the cost might be much greater than any benefit.

Civil proceedings

If a person is seeking a grant of assistance for a civil proceeding under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth), we must disregard this ‘appropriateness of spending’ test when assessing the person’s eligibility under the Commonwealth merits test.

Family law proceedings

For commentary and examples on how this test applies in Commonwealth family law matter, see Notes on the 'appropriateness of spending limited legal aid funds' test.

Reviewed 21 February 2022

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