Notes on Guideline 7.2 – appointment of an ICL in litigation relating to special medical procedures involving a child

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

The following information provides guidance on how to interpret and apply guideline 7.2 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.

(a) Eligibility criteria

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

Criterion A and B

The decision as to whether it is reasonable to make a grant of assistance for an ICL in a matter is made by the practice area at Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) and not by Grants and Quality Assurance unit.

Appearing and instructing as an ICL

Where the ICL has briefed counsel to appear at the final hearing, VLA may provide a limited instructing fee for the ICL to instruct at key points of the final hearing where this is essential for them to form an opinion about what is in the child’s best interests, based on the evidence.

This is because a matter relating to special medical procedures involving a child is considered to be a complex matter.

VLA expect that it will not ordinarily be necessary to instruct for the entire final hearing. Instructing may be required at key points in a final hearing, for example, during the evidence of non-controversial witnesses or the making of opening or closing submissions, but will not always be required.

Funding for instructing can only be requested one day at a time. The ICL must assess that instructing will be required for the following day of the trial.

(b) Grants assessment process

Refer to the notes linked to Guideline 1.4, Grants assessment process.

(c) Documentary requirements

To enable VLA to assess the application, the lawyer should provide a letter with the application outlining the circumstances of the matter and the orders sought.

Lawyers are also encouraged to complete a family law worksheet.

(d) Fees and billing

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

Where a defended hearing is required, lawyers should submit an extension request for a Stage 3 defended hearing appearance fee.