Notes on Guideline 3.3 – appointment of an ICL for litigation relating to international child abduction

Note: The lawyer is not required to assess eligibility under this guideline. Grants under this guideline are assessed by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) and allocated to lawyers on the independent children's lawyer (ICL) panel.

The following information provides guidance on how to interpret and apply guideline 3.3 and should be read in conjunction with that guideline in the Handbook. Where there is any inconsistency between the following information and the guidelines, the guidelines will prevail.

The following information provides general guidance on litigation grants for ICLs in international child abduction matters. Additional information is available on:

(a) Eligibility criteria

Assistance may be available under this guideline where the criteria A, and B are met.

Criterion A and B

Grants of assistance for the separate representation of a child by an ICL under this guideline will only be made where a court orders VLA to appoint an ICL and we decide that it is reasonable to make the grant.

ICLs may also get assistance for time-limited ongoing work necessary for the implementation of orders.

(b) Grants assessment process

Applications for assistance under this guideline are not within the simplified grants process (SGP) but are allocated to lawyers on the ICL panel.

Following allocation of the matter, VLA will put a grant of assistance in place for stage 1A Preparation and first appearance (ICL) (Fee table 4.2) through ATLAS. The ICL is not required to submit a request for the stage 1A grant.

An ICL must request an extension for funding for stage 1D litigation intervention FDRS, court-based DRC or private mediation (in Fee table 4.2).

The extension request for a stage 1D grant must be lodged via ATLAS on the ‘Simplified Process – Independent Children’s Lawyer’ template, making the following selections:

  • under ‘court hearing’, select ‘yes’ and advise of the appropriate court
  • under ‘professional costs’, select the appropriate court
  • in the matter type, select ‘The Hague Convention App’.

If the matter is listed for trial in the first instance, the Grants and Quality Assurance unit will also put funding in place under stage 2 and stage 3 of Fee table 4.2.

A copy of the court order requesting the appointment of the ICL is emailed to the appointed ICL.

The ICL must file and serve on all parties a notice of address for service as soon as possible. VLA suggests that a copy of the VLA child representative information sheet be included with the notice to the parties.

(c) Fees and billing

Refer to notes linked to Guideline 1.4, Fees and billing.