Estimated legal costs and the income test

Estimated legal costs and the income test

‘Estimated legal costs’ means the amount of money which Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) considers the person applying for a grant of legal assistance would have to pay to a private lawyer for the legal services the person seeks.

VLA has three categories of estimated legal costs:

  • Category 1 – estimated legal costs are less than $1555
  • Category 2 – estimated legal costs are between $1555 and $6560
  • Category 3 – estimated legal costs are more than $6560.

Table 1 sets out whether or not a person with a net disposable income of $361 or more a week will qualify for a grant of legal assistance under the income test, based on the category of estimated legal costs.

Table 1 – Effect of estimated legal costs for a person whose net disposable income is $361 or more a week

Costs category Estimated legal costs Assistance granted
Category 1 Less than $1555 If net disposable income is more than $469 a week, VLA will not usually make a grant of legal assistance.
Category 2 Between $1555 and $6560 If net disposable income is between $361 and $539 a week, VLA may make a grant of legal assistance. If a grant of legal assistance is provided the person must pay an initial contribution.
Category 3 More than $6560 If net disposable income is more than $360 a week, VLA will usually make a grant of legal assistance unless the required initial contribution is more than the estimated legal costs.