General costing principles

General costing principles

Which court?

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) will not normally grant assistance for proceedings in the Family Court when the State Magistrates’ Court or the Federal Circuit Court is the most appropriate court.

Scale​ of fees

The following scales apply to fees payable under a grant of assistance for court appearances in Commonwealth family law and child support matters, whether by way of a fixed stage of matter limit, or an itemised invoice:

  • Family Court – 80 per cent of Family Court Scale payable
  • Federal Circuit Court – 80 per cent of Family Court Scale payable
  • Magistrates’ Court – 64 per cent of Family Court Scale payable

Note: Court time includes waiting for the matter to be heard but does not include travel time.


The fees set out in this section are either fixed lump sums or broadband.

Where a lump sum fee is fixed it will only be payable when the stage is substantially completed. In the event that the stage is not substantially completed, the lawyer should submit an itemised invoice on the appropriate scale of fees, but not exceeding the lump sum.

Lawyers are required to submit their claims for costs at the conclusion of each stage. An extension of assistance for the next stage should not ordinarily be requested until all outstanding claims for the previous stage have been submitted. Any amount not claimed at one stage cannot be carried forward to the next stage.

Trial funding

We may provide assistance for preparation and representation at trial (by counsel or lawyer) where:

  • the matter continues to meet the Commonwealth merits test, the means test and the substantial issue in dispute test, where applicable, and
  • the client continues to meet the priority litigation client test.

This requirement does not apply to Independent Children’s Lawyers.