This handbook provides detailed information about:
- the types of matters for which Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance
- who may be eligible to receive a grant of legal assistance, depending on:
- the type of matter
- where any legal proceedings relating to the matter will be heard and determined
- the financial position of the person seeking the grant of legal assistance
- the merits of the matter
- any special circumstances that may make it more likely that VLA will make a grant of legal assistance
- how to apply for a grant of legal assistance, including information about the application forms, the supporting documents that may be required, where to send the application and how to make urgent applications in some limited matters
- how to seek a reconsideration and review of a decision by VLA not to make a grant of legal assistance
- what happens if VLA does make a grant of legal assistance, including the terms and conditions that may be put on the grant. These conditions may include requiring the person to make some financial contribution towards the cost of their legal services. VLA expects people to pay something if they can afford to. A legal charge may also be placed over the person’s home as security for the future payment of some of the costs
- how VLA assigns assisted matters to in-house lawyers and private lawyers and the conditions lawyers are expected to comply with when they take on legally assisted matters
- the referral and practitioner panels that VLA has established and how to become a member of one of them. VLA may also remove lawyers from the panels if lawyers do not comply with the conditions of membership
- what happens when a legally assisted matter is completed and how to seek payment of the fees, costs and disbursements involved in each matter
- VLA’s debt policy, which it applies to people who owe VLA money, including legally assisted people who may be late paying their financial contribution towards their legal costs
- how VLA checks that in-house lawyers and some private lawyers comply with all of VLA’s requirements
- how VLA protects people’s personal information through its privacy management policy
- how to complain and give feedback about any of VLA’s services, staff and private lawyers funded by VLA.
The content of this handbook is regularly updated to reflect changes, updates and amendments to VLA’s policies and guidelines.
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