The Commonwealth’s special circumstances

The Commonwealth’s special circumstances

A person who is applying for a grant of legal assistance will come within the Commonwealth’s ‘special circumstances’ if:

  • the application is for a criminal offence or offences under Commonwealth law and the person meets one of the State's special circumstances
  • in a non-urgent Commonwealth family law matter:
    • there is, or is a likelihood of, domestic violence, especially if an allegation of domestic violence has been made
    • there are concerns as to the safety, welfare and psychological wellbeing of a child have been identified and require further investigation
    • the applicant has a language or literacy problem
    • the applicant has an intellectual, psychiatric or physical disability
    • it is difficult for the applicant to obtain legal assistance because the applicant lives in a remote location
    • the child/children are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, as defined under section 4 of the Family Law Act 1975.

Note: the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services (PDF 540KB) lists the special circumstances under Schedule A.

See also: Commonwealth civil law guideline 1.2 for assistance for disadvantaged clients in some types of Commonwealth civil law matters.