Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Table A sets out the standard rate fees payable by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) in:

  • summary proceedings in the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court
  • summary criminal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court.

These fees are effective from 1 January this year. For fees payable prior to this see Archived versions of the Handbook.

The fees contained in this fee schedule are lump sum fees and are GST inclusive.

Service/proceedingFee for acting for single accusedFee for acting for two accusedFee for acting for three or more accused
Lump sum general preparation fee
Note: the lump sum preparation fee covers all necessary work.
Lump sum preparation fee (urgent matter)
This fee applies in any matter where the request for aid is made no earlier than the day immediately preceding the substantive hearing or where the lawyer is otherwise in receipt of an urgent grant.
Lump sum consolidated preparation fee$553$828$1104
Lump sum consolidated preparation fee (urgent matter)$333$498$666
Transcribing of taped record of interview, if necessary$95 per tape$95 per tape$95 per tape

Contest mention
VLA will pay an appearance fee if, on the available evidence, the assisted person:

  • had a reasonable prospect of acquittal on all or some of the charges against them
  • would have qualified for a grant of assistance because of the likely penalty for those charges.

If the lawyer appears in more than one contest mention for the same client on the same day, then VLA will pay only one contest mention fee.

$317 for each necessary appearance.$474 for each necessary appearance.$633 for each necessary appearance.

Jail conference
VLA will pay for one necessary jail conference (including by way of video conference) with the accused person only:

  • if the lawyer who attends the conference conducts the substantive hearing
  • if the conference is not held in the court or in the police cells on the day or days of the hearing.
Contest hearing appearance if the matter does proceed as a contest$877$1314$1752
Contest hearing appearance if the matter does not proceed as a contest$626$938$1251
Daily appearance fee$463$694$924
Daily appearance fee (consolidation)$553$828$1104
Appearance on sentence or adjournment$305$456$609
Appearance on sentence or adjournment (consolidation)$352$528$702
Group conference held during work hours (Children’s Court only)$443$664$885
Group conference held outside work hours (Children’s Court only)$568$852$1134
Youth Control Order planning meeting (Children’s Court only)$343n/an/a
Youth Control Order reporting and monitoring hearing, including variation to a less restrictive order (Children’s Court only)$177n/an/a
Youth Control Order reporting and monitoring hearing to oppose a variation to a significantly more restrictive order (Children’s Court only)$305n/an/a
Breach or Revocation of a Youth Control Order (Children’s Court only)$463$694$924
Application for summary jurisdiction (Children’s Court only)$427n/an/a
Plea heard at contest mention – contest mention fee$317$474$633
Plea heard at contest mention – plea fee$305$456$609
Plea heard at contest mention – plea fee (consolidation)$352$528$702
Court Integrated Services Program/Drug Court mention/Assessment and Referral Court$177$177$177
Assessment and Referral Court – Individual Support Plan Ratification hearing$317n/an/a

Practitioners can claim these fees using ATLASExternal Link or submitting a tax invoice.


The general preparation fee covers:

  • perusal of the brief
  • taking instructions
  • summary case conference
  • organising witnesses
  • obtaining material for the hearing
  • briefing counsel.

VLA will only pay the general preparation fee once in a matter. Additional preparation fees are not available for summary crime matters.

Urgent grants

Where a practitioner is in receipt of an urgent grant, the only preparation fee payable is the urgent grant fee in Table A. The general preparation fee in Table A is not payable for urgent grants.

Jail conference

VLA will pay for one necessary jail conference with the accused, as per Table A, subject to the following:

  • the fee is only payable if the practitioner or counsel who undertakes the conference also makes the appearance
  • the fee is not payable where the attendance on the accused is in the court/police cells on the day(s) of the hearing.

Contested hearing appearance fees

Where a matter is listed for a contested hearing and does not proceed to contest, the fee of $626 in Table A applies.

Where the matter proceeds to a contested hearing, the fee of $877 in Table A applies for each day of the contested hearing.

Contest mention fee

Where an individual charge or charges to be negotiated qualify for assistance under the guidelines, VLA will pay for each necessary attendance at a contest mention if, either:

  • the accused had a reasonable prospect of acquittal on those charges
  • where the summary alleged by the prosecution does not reflect the evidence and is likely to impact on the sentence.

Where a practitioner appears in more that one contest mention for the same accused on the same day, only one contest mention fee is payable.

Therapeutic programs

Court Integrated Services Program

Where an accused is involved in a Court Integrated Services Program, VLA will pay for one necessary attendance, other than on final plea or sentence, where there is a prior indication that the accused is not complying with the program and the court is likely to take him/her off the program.

Assessment and Referral Court List – review hearing

Where an accused has a matter in the Assessment and Referral Court (ARC) List, VLA will pay for a necessary attendance at a review hearing, other than on final plea or sentence, where there is a real and substantial risk that the accused is going to have their individual support plan cancelled or significantly varied.

Expert reports

VLA will not pay for any psychiatric, psychological or other reports for matters that are in the ARC List where such reports can be prepared by the services of the court.

Consolidation of charges

Where there are two or more briefs that fall within the guidelines for assistance, and where those briefs are to be consolidated and heard together, the consolidation fees in Table A shall apply. A specific grant of aid for consolidation is required.

Acting for co-accused

Where a practitioner acts for more than one accused in a matter, the fees relating to co-accused in Table A apply. These fees will be apportioned between the co-accused.

Travel fees

Where an advocate appears in a hearing which is more than 40 kilometres away from the advocate’s usual place of business, a travel fee of 81 cents per kilometres is payable for each kilometres of the return trip in excess of 80 kilometres.



A specific grant of assistance is required to incur any disbursement in Table S.

Requests to increase the fees in Table S, or for other disbursements not covered in Table S, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by those with the delegation to do so.

Interpreters’ fees and translation fees

VLA will pay for reasonable interpreters fees without prior approval from VLA. A separate grant of aid is required before incurring translation fees.

Expert witness

Where an appointment has been made for an accused to attend upon an expert and the accused does not attend the appointment, the non-attendance fee in Table S is payable to the expert.

The fee for an evidentiary expert report is payable where an expert is engaged to establish an evidentiary basis for a defence or to establish an evidentiary fact.

A separate grant of aid is required before engaging an expert for an evidentiary report.

A separate grant of aid is required before engaging an expert for attend court to give evidence.

Other witnesses

Where an accused is calling a witnesses to give evidence, a separate grant of aid is required for any costs associated with the witness’ attendance at court.

Service fees

VLA will pay for service fees and associated conduct money without prior approval from VLA.

Reviewed 31 December 2023