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, family violence, especially if an allegation of family 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.