Contravention test

Contravention test

A grant of legal assistance is conditional upon compliance with court orders. If an applicant for assistance is found by a court to have contravened a Federal Circuit Court or Family Court of Australia order, they will not be eligible for assistance.

A finding of a contravention is taken into account only if it was made within 12 months prior to the date of application for assistance. Once assistance is granted, continuing compliance with orders is required, and current grants may be terminated if orders are not complied with.

The contravention condition does not apply in the following matters:

  • independent representation of children
  • matters involving child litigants
  • special medical procedures involving children
  • international child abduction matters.

The condition comes into effect if the client is found by the court to have breached the order without reasonable excuse. The lack of excuse is an integral part of the offence, and the lawyer cannot decide what a reasonable excuse is. The determination is made by the judicial officer who found the client to be in breach of the order.

For commentary and examples on how this test applies, see Notes on the contravention test.