Independent children’s lawyer proceedings – Family Court

Independent children’s lawyer proceedings – Family Court

The lump sum fees for independent children's lawyer proceedings in the Family Court are detailed in:

This fee schedule is effective from 1 January 2017. For fee schedules prior to this, refer to Archived versions of the Handbook.

Stage 1 – negotiations/primary dispute resolution

Note: Some of the following stages are broad-banded. A lawyer in receipt of a Stage 1(a) grant will be entitled to three further Stage 1(b) grants and a Stage 1(d) grant without any extension of assistance. For stages 1(c) and 1(d) an extension of assistance is required.

Stage 1(a) Up to and including first court hearing after appointment

A lump sum fee of $1840 is payable for:

  • taking instructions
  • reading documentation
  • preparing documents
  • communications
  • filing and service
  • court attendance
  • orders.

Where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 kilometres from the court, Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) will pay an additional $184 over the lump sum fixed, which covers either travel or briefing an agent.

Stage 1(b) Subsequent court hearing

A lump sum fee of $920 is payable for preparing and attending a subsequent hearing.

Where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 kilometres from the court, VLA will pay an additional $184 over the lump sum fixed, which covers either travel or briefing an agent.

Stage 1(c) Interim contest hearing

A lump sum fee of $920 is payable for preparing for an interim contest hearing.

Note: Instructing fees are not payable in interim contests.

Stage 1(d) Victoria Legal Aid Family Dispute Resolution Service (litigation intervention)

The following table shows the lump sum payments for litigation intervention in Victoria Legal Aid Family Dispute Resolution Service proceedings.

Service/proceeding Fee payable
Preparation for conference $184
Attending conference $736*
Preparing consent orders (if appropriate) $368

In the event that a lawyer attends the conference but it is adjourned without hearing, a fee of $184 will be payable.

*Where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 kilometres from the court, VLA will pay an additional $184 over the lump sum fixed, which covers either travel or briefing an agent.

Stage 2 – litigation

Stage 2(a) Preparation for and days of trial

The lump sum shown in the following table covers:

  • communications
  • interviewing witnesses
  • preparing documents
  • reading family report or hearing oral report
  • reading all affidavits and trial documentation
  • briefing counsel
  • conference with counsel.

A grant for disbursements for assessment reports may be available in certain circumstances. Refer to Table Q.

Service/proceeding Fee payable
Estimated hearing (1–4 days) $1288
Estimated hearing (5 days or more) $1840
Counsel's conference (3 hours at $209 per hour) $627
Daily fee $1489

Stage 2(b) Applications in the Family Court

The following table shows the lump sum payments for applications in the Family Court.

A lawyer in receipt of a Stage 2 grant will be entitled to any of the grants listed without an extension of assistance.

Service/proceeding Fee payable
Callover, mention $368*
Subpoena List $368*
Subpoena List (objection) $552*
Telephone mention $184

Some of these court events may occur where a lawyer is in receipt of a Stage 1 grant only. In that event the lawyer will be entitled to any of these grants without an extension of assistance.

*Where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 kilometres from the court, VLA will pay an additional $184 over the lump sum fixed, which covers either travel or briefing an agent.

Stage 2(c) Additional preparation fees

In exceptional circumstances additional preparation fees calculated at the rate of $184 per hour may be allowed. This would ordinarily only arise where trials are adjourned.

Stage 3 – trial costs for lawyer

Instructing fees for final hearings may be payable up to five hours per day at $184 per hour in the limited circumstances set out in Guideline 5.1.

In the event that the independent children’s lawyer appears as solicitor advocate, the fee payable shall be the fee otherwise payable to counsel, with the exception of the conference fee. A solicitor advocate is entitled to a maximum of two hours of conferences only.

Only the hours actually spent instructing can be claimed.