Cost ceilings

Cost ceilings

A ‘cost ceiling’ is the maximum amount which Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) will pay in costs and disbursements in any single grant of assistance for a Commonwealth family law matter.

The cost ceiling in adult family law matters is $15,510 (including GST).

This includes all costs and disbursements except:

  • interpreters’ fees
  • circuit fees
  • travel and accommodation costs
  • costs ordered and paid under section 10(2) of the Federal Proceedings (Costs) Act 1981
  • contributions paid
  • costs recovered.

How the cost ceiling is calculated

VLA calculates the cost ceiling by adding together:

  • the total amount (including counsel’s fees) which VLA pays the lawyer to represent the assisted person
  • any disbursements.

From this total, VLA then subtracts:

  • interpreters’ fees
  • circuit fees
  • travel and accommodation costs
  • any contributions paid
  • any costs recovered or reimbursed.

When a matter reaches the cost ceiling

If a matter reaches the cost ceiling, then VLA will not pay further fees or costs without prior approval.