Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Other parties help

When you are asked to complete the ‘Other Parties’ details, you will need to provide answers to some mandatory fields before you can submit the application for assistance.

The ‘other party’ screen fulfils two important functions:

  1. It tells Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) who is on the other side of the proceedings, which is particularly useful when calculating fee ceilings in family law matters.
  2. It helps identify multiple parties in criminal and civil proceedings. For instance, an applicant may be one of a number of co-accused.

What, or who, is an ‘other party’?

The 'other party' usually means:

  • the person, or institution, that is the client’s opponent in any current, or proposed, family law or civil proceedings. Please note that VLA does not, in criminal cases, require you to nominate the prosecuting authorities who are bringing action against your client
  • any other person who is co-joined (or will be co-joined) in any form of litigation with the client. This includes the client’s co-accused, or co-plaintiff(s).

The first choice is between a ‘Person’ or an ‘Institution’

If you choose ‘Person’, you need to provide all relevant details of the person. Some fields are mandatory: for example, all names, gender, role, relationship.

If you choose ‘Institution’, you will need to provide (in the free text field) details of the institution on the other side. Popular, but well-understood abbreviations are acceptable: for example, ‘DFFH’. Please do not use acronyms which are not well-known. Instead, insert the full name of the institution.


The next checkbox requires your client to state ‘their relationship to you’. The expression ‘relationship to you’ means relationship the client has with the other party. Choose the item from the drop-down list that most accurately describes the other party. If none of the items closely match, choose ‘Other’. Examples include:

  • If the client was being sued by his mother, and he seeks aid to defend the proceedings, then the other party’s relationship to is ‘mother’.
  • If your client’s children are living with the client’s cousin, and the cousin refuses to return the children to your client, then the other party is ‘other’ (because VLA has not classified ‘cousin’ as a category).
  • If you are seeking assistance for a child in proceedings involving the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, then the ‘other party’ is DFFH.
  • If your client is one of several people involved as defendants/co-accused in the action, then the co-defendants/co-accused are ‘other parties’. In this case, you would choose ‘co-accused’ in criminal proceedings, or ‘co-defendant’ in civil/family proceedings.


This simply relates to the description of the other party, as if you visualise how they might appear on the relevant court documents.

For example, if your client (the applicant for aid) is defending civil proceedings, then the role of other party in the court case is the applicant, plaintiff or complainant, depending on the terminology of the jurisdiction. If your client is responding to an appeal, the role of the other party who initiates the appeal is the appellant. If your client is one of two respondents to an appeal, then you have to include your co-respondent as an ‘other party’. In this case, ‘co-defendant’ would be the closest choice.

As with ‘relationship’, please pick the option(s) that most closely describe the role of the other party. The drop-down list is not exhaustive. You may choose ‘other’ where no suitable option exists.

Reviewed 24 January 2022