State family matters

State family matters

State family matters are applications under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 sometimes known as:

  • protection applications
  • Department of Human Services (DHS) proceedings
  • Children’s Court (Family Division) proceedings.

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance to a person in relation to a State family matter under Victorian law if:

  • the matter is a State family matter within the State family guidelines
  • usually, VLA considers the person cannot afford the full cost of private legal services (the means test).

If the matter, the proceedings and the person meet these threshold requirements, then VLA will make a grant of legal assistance to respond to an application in the Children’s Court (Family Division) if VLA considers that:

  • it is reasonable to make a grant of legal assistance, after having taken into account all relevant matters (the State reasonableness test)
    and
  • the matter is likely to terminate in favour of the applicant.

State family guidelines

The State family guidelines set out the conditions under which a grant of legal assistance made be made for the following matters:

  • a child:
    • involved in a case in the Children’s Court (Family Division), including an Interim Accommodation Order appeal to the Supreme Court
    • an internal review of a case planning decision made by DHHS
    • an application to Victorian and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for external review of a case planning decision.
  • a parent, guardian or other interested person:
    • involved in a case in the Children’s Court (Family Division), including an Interim Accommodation Order appeal to the Supreme Court
    • an internal review of a case planning decision made by DHHS
    • an application to Victorian and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for external review of a case plan decision.