Archived versions of the Handbook

Archived versions of the Handbook

Archived Why it was archived Archived version includes Link
2 July 2017

Victoria Legal Aid redrafted the family law guidelines to make them clearer, more consistent and easier to navigate. Apart from some minor expansions of eligibility criteria and a condition added to fees for the first day of trial in the Family Court, the changes are largely structural and not substantive in nature. An extensive glossary of key definitions has been included, the fee tables have been consolidated (resulting in some changes to fee numbers), and hyperlinks have been added for ease of use.

  • All family law guidelines prior to the redraft implemented on 3 July 2017 (section 4 of the Handbook)
  • Content relating to the Commonwealth merits test (section 13 of the Handbook)
  • Content relating to Costs payable in Commonwealth family law matters ((see section 24 of the Handbook)
VLA Handbook (July 2017)
31 December 2016 Victoria Legal Aid increased all professional fees and disbursements by 2 per cent. The fee increase covers all private practitioner fees. The new fees apply to all existing grants of legal assistance where the matter has not been finalised, and new grants made on or after that date. All appearances and additional preparation completed prior to the changes attract the old fees.
  • All professional fees and disbursements prior to the 2 per cent increase on 1 January 2017.
VLA Handbook (December 2016)
30 September 2016 Effective 1 October 2016, changes were made to the funding of recovery order matters. The changes allow for practitioners to claim one subsequent hearing fee where the recovery order hearing has been adjourned. In exceptional circumstances, funding is provided for additional preparation and a second subsequent hearing. This change aligns with the court practice of routinely adjourning matters, and order a section 11F report, prior to the making of a recovery order.
  • Fee Schedule 1M – Stage 2(b) Application for recovery or information order in any court.
VLA Handbook (September 2016)
31 August 2016 Effective 1 September 2016, changes were made to the funding of child support matters in the State Magistrates' Court. The changes allow for up to three subsequent appearance fees to be claimed without an extension of legal assistance. This is a result of increased complexity in child support matters and to maintain client accessibility.
  • Fee Schedule 1M – assistance to child support matters.
  • Initiating and responding to an application in a State Magistrates’ Court.
VLA Handbook (August 2016)
29 February 2016
On 1 March 2016, changes to the means test were made to extend financial eligibility. The changes include increases to the following thresholds:
  • assessable income (maximum net income and income cut-offs)
  • housing costs, with separate thresholds introduced for metro, outer metro and regional areas
  • childcare costs
  • home equity
  • motor vehicle equity
  • allowable assets.

On 1 March 2016, substantial changes made to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 by the Children, Youth and Families (Permanent Care and Other Matters) Act 2014 came into effect. State Family Guidelines have been amended to take these changes into account. New State Family Guidelines 1–5 will replace the current Guidelines 1 and 2. The new Guidelines cover children, parents and third parties, IAO appeals to the Supreme Court, internal reviews of case plans and external reviews of case plans to VCAT.

  • Chapter 12 Means test: All means test thresholds prior to the changes on 1 March 2016.
  • State Family Guidelines 1 and 2 are replaced with State Family Guidelines 1–5.
VLA Handbook (February 2016)
31 January 2016

On 1 February 2016, the Major Criminal Cases Framework was implemented. The changes include:

  • introduction of two new webpages, Notes on committal proceedings involving homicide, consent or identification (Notes 3.1) and Notes on committal proceedings in other cases (Notes 3.2)
  • amendments to Guideline 3.1 - committal proceedings involving homicide, consent or identification (Guideline 3.1) and Guideline 3.2 - committal proceedings in other case (Guideline 3.2) to separate the guidelines from Notes 3.1 and Notes 3.2
  • amendments to Notes on trials in the County or Supreme Courts
  • amendments to the criminal law quality tools and checklists, including brief analysis and case strategy, committal report and trial preparation plan, brief and handover to counsel, post-committal negotiation checklist
  • introduction of a contested committals exceeding four days worksheet
  • removal of the contested committals exceeding two days worksheet, criminal trials and pleas worksheet, State and Commonwealth committals worksheet and State and Commonwealth criminal trials worksheet.
  • Guidelines 3.1, 3.2 and criminal law quality tools, worksheets and checklists up to 1 February 2016
VLA Handbook (January 2016)
31 December 2015

Victoria Legal Aid increased all professional fees and disbursements by 2 per cent. The fee increase covers all private practitioner fees. The new fees apply to all existing grants of legal assistance where the matter has not been finalised, and new grants made on or after that date. All appearances and additional preparation completed prior to the changes attract the old fees.

All professional fees and disbursements prior to the 2 per cent increase on 1 January 2016.

VLA Handbook (December 2015)
29 October 2015

On 30 October 2015, the first changes arising out of the Family Law Legal Aid Services Review were implemented. This resulted in changes to guidelines Early Intervention (Guideline 1), Litigation (Guideline 2) and Independent Children’s Lawyers (Guideline 5) and fee tables.

  • Stage 1 – negotiations/Roundtable Dispute Management
  • Stage 2 – litigation
  • Stage 3 – preparation for trial
  • Independent children’s lawyer proceedings – Family Court
  • Independent children’s lawyer proceedings – Federal Circuit Court
VLA Handbook (October 2015)
31 July 2015

On 31 July 2015, the Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List was published. The changes are:

  • amendments to Guideline 4 – trials in the County and Supreme courts (Guideline 4), to include a requirement that practitioners must only brief a Preferred Barrister for a criminal trial, unless an exception is granted in advance;
  • introduction of a new webpage with Notes on trials in the County and Supreme courts (Notes) with clarification around transitional arrangements between 31 July and 30 September, exceptions to briefing a Preferred Barrister and solicitor advocates; and
  • amendments to Guideline 4 to separate the guidelines from the Notes.
  • Gudieline 4
VLA Handbook (July 2015)
15 March 2015

On 16 March 2015, new guidelines and processes were introduced to Court of Appeal matters. The changes introduced:

  • a guideline for funding for matters where leave to appeal had been refused by one judge but Victoria Legal Aid considers there is merit in electing to renew the appeal before a bench of two or more
  • specific merits advice requirements where the sole ground relied upon is manifest excess
  • change to the grants assessment process where the appeal proceeds by way of the hearing of leave and appeal together before a bench of two or more (as opposed to where leave is determined by one judge on the papers).
  • Guideline 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 and Fee Table K.
VLA Handbook (March 2015)
1 February 2015 From 1 February 2015, a grant of legal assistance made for family violence and personal safety intervention order matters will only be allocated to member of the relevant section 29A panel or a Victoria Legal Aid lawyer.
  • Guideline 6 – family violence protection order cases, Guideline 6a, Helping a client apply for a grant of legal assistance, Allocation of work guideline
VLA Handbook (February 2015)
11 January 2015

On 12 January 2015 changes were made to solicitor preparation fees and instructing/co-counsel fees for indictable crime trials in the county and supreme courts.

  • Criminal law indictable trial guideline 4, Fee Tables E, F and BBB, and Fee Schedule 1A to up 11 January 2015.
VLA Handbook (January 2015)
31 December 2014 On 1 January 2015 there was a 2 per cent fee increase for all private practitioner fees and disbursements.
  • All lawyer's fees and tax invoices prior to the 2 per cent increase on 1 January 2015
VLA Handbook (December 2014)
30 October 2014

On 1 November 2014, the allocation of work guideline was updated as a result of the summary crime, family law and child protection section 29A panels becoming exclusive.

The new guideline removes the exception for allocation of work in relation to indictable crime matters and introduces an exception for family law matters.

All references to outdated allocation arrangements were removed from relevant parts of the Handbook

  • Guideline 23: Allocation of work to lawyers and law firms up to 30 October 2014
VLA Handbook (October 2014)
31 August 2014 On 1 September 2014 changes were made to family law trial guidelines to include funding for legal representation at final hearing for people who meet the new eligibility criteria concerning family violence
  • Guideline 18 – Family law trials and final hearings up to 31 August 2014
VLA Handbook (August 2014)
31 December 2013 On 1 January 2014 there was a 1.4 per cent fee increase for all private practitioner professional fees.
  • all lawyer's fees prior to the 1.4 percent fee increase on 1 January 2014
VLA Handbook (December 2013)
31 October 2013 On 1 November 2013 changes were made to family law trial funding guidelines broadening the availability of fees for legal representation at trial.
  • family law trial funding guidelines up to 31 October 2013
VLA Handbook (October 2013)
7 April 2013 On 8 April 2013 changes were made to eligibility guidelines for ICL trial funding, family law matters, child protection matters, youth and adult summary crime and personal safety intervention matters.
  • family and criminal guidelines up to 6 April 2013
VLA Handbook (April 2013)
6 January 2013 On 7 January 2013 changes were made to eligibility guidelines for family law trial funding, child protection matters, civil infringements applications, indictable (serious) crime and criminal appeal matters.
  • all family, criminal and civil guidelines up to 6 January 2013
VLA Handbook (January 2013)
31 July 2012 On 1 August 2012 there was a two per cent fee increase for all private practitioner fees and disbursements.
  • all lawyer's fees and tax invoices prior to the two percent increase on 1 August 2012
VLA Handbook (July 2012)
31 October 2011 On 1 November 2011 the new family law guidelines were introduced and Fee Schedule 1M – Family law stage of matter limits replaced Fee Schedule 1L.
  • the family law guidelines up to 31 October
  • Fee Schedule 1L – Family law stage of matter limits
VLA Handbook (Oct 2011)
30 September 2011

On 1 October 2011 there was a 10 per cent fee increase for all private practitioner fees and disbursements.

  • all lawyer's fees and tax invoices prior to the 10 per cent increase on 1 October 2011
VLA Handbook (Sept 2011)