Personal information in the application for legal assistance

Personal information in the application for legal assistance

The information which a person gives in their application form is required by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) under the Legal Aid Act 1978 to assess whether the person qualifies for a grant of legal assistance. VLA may also use this information to help the person’s lawyer represent them.

Non-identifying statistical information

VLA also gives statistical information to the Department of the Commonwealth Attorney-General about applications and the people who apply. However, none of this statistical information contains any names or other identifying details of the people who have applied.

Centrelink reference numbers

If a person who is applying for a grant of legl assistance says they are receiving any kind of Commonwealth benefit, allowance or pension, then VLA will use the person’s Centrelink customer reference number to check this.

VLA may give personal details to a credit reporting agency if a person is overdue in paying a contribution

VLA may list a person’s details with a credit reporting agency if the person is more than 60 days overdue in paying a required contribution towards their legal costs, or any instalment of it

VLA may disclose certain other personal information

Under section 43 of the Legal Aid Act, the personal information which a person gives in their application for a grant of assistance will usually remain confidential. However, VLA may disclose personal information if:

  • it is necessary so that criminal cases can be listed efficiently
  • it will help VLA to recover costs
  • it is necessary for VLA to reply to a court application under section s197 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (that is, an application to a court for an order that VLA provide a grant of assistance for legal representation in a criminal trial), section 143 of the Confiscation Act 1997 and other proceedings in which VLA is a party
  • it is in the public interest to do so.