Privately Funded Criminal Defence or Legal Aid
As a private firm, our Criminal Defence Lawyers undertake both privately funded cases and legal aid cases. We can apply for legal aid on our client's behalf (conditions apply) in both summary and indictable criminal matters. Our expertise in Criminal Law has enabled us to be one of a select number of firms on Victoria Legal Aid's Indictable Crime Panel.
Grant of Legal Assistance
A Grant of Legal Assistance is money allocated by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) to pay a VLA lawyer or a private lawyer to represent you.
How do I get a grant?
We'll assist you in completing an application form. The form has questions about your financial situation and your case.
You will also need to give us:
- proof of your income, such as your pay sheet or welfare benefits
- bank or credit union account statements for the last three months.
Who can get a grant?
There are clear rules about who can get a Grant of Legal Assistance. These rules relate to the offences with which you have been charged and your financial position.
With regards to the offending, Victoria Legal Aid looks at:
- the nature and seriousness of the offence with which you have been charged
- your prospects of success
- if helping you can benefit the public
- your financial situation using a means test
With regards to your financial situation, Victoria Legal Aid looks at:
- what money you get from work, welfare benefits or other sources
- if you own a car, home or anything else of value
- your weekly living expenses.
- if you support anyone else, or whether they support you.
What are the conditions of a grant?
All information provided to Victoria Legal Aid must be truthful and accurate. Once you have a Grant of Legal Assistance in place, you are also required to tell VLA if:
- you change your address while you are getting a grant of legal assistance
- there is any change in any information in your application
- there are any other changes that may affect your eligibility.
Another condition of your grant is that you authorise the lawyer who is acting for you, or who has acted for you, to give VLA information necessary for it to assess your financial position and the merit of providing you with a Grant of Legal Assistance.
Finally, if a court awards you costs, or another party agrees to pay costs to you, those costs are to be paid to VLA.
It is important to be aware that Victoria Legal Aid may stop or change your Grant of Legal Assistance if you do not abide by any of the conditions or follow the advice of your lawyer. If VLA stops legal assistance you may have to pay all legal costs up to that time.
How does my lawyer get paid?
VLA pays your lawyer directly. It is an offence for a private lawyer to ask you to pay any costs for legally aided work.