Legal Aid Lawyers For Criminal Charges and Family Law Matters
We support access to justice and will help you apply for legal aid for family law and criminal law matters.
Applying For Legal Aid
Although we are a private law firm, we support access to justice by accepting legal aid matters. If you need a lawyer but cannot afford one, you may apply for legal aid funding for criminal law cases and family law matters.
If the Legal Services Commission (LSC) accepts your application, you will obtain a grant of legal aid. This will cover the cost of legal assistance, advice and representation.
Legal Aid Eligibility
Stanley & Co Lawyers are committed to reducing the stress involved in legal matters. We will help you fill out a legal aid application form, and apply for funding on your behalf for the following legal issues:
Criminal Law Cases
If you are charged with a crime, there must be a likelihood of a prison sentence. Additionally, your case must have “merit”. This means that, unless you are pleading guilty, there must be a reasonably arguable defence to your charges. The initial grant of Legal Aid is always for a guilty plea. If you wish to plead not guilty, an application for further funding will be required. We can assist you with this once you have been granted Legal Aid.
Family Law Matters
Funding is available for family law matters that involve a genuine dispute about children’s issues. Funding may also be granted where there is a risk of injury to a child. Funding will only be granted for family law property disputes where there are special or exceptional circumstances. Grants of legal aid for property disputes are rare. If you are unsure, please contact us to discuss your matter. We would be more than happy to assist. In some cases, funding will be granted for Family Dispute Resolution rather than Court proceedings. This is where the parties meet at the Legal Services Commission’s office with their lawyers to try to reach an agreement about the issues in dispute.
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Helpful Questions & Answers
How Your Application is Assessed
The LSC considers four (4) factors:
- Means test: you will likely meet the minimum contribution level if your minimum income is less than the poverty line.
- Merits test: the LSC must be satisfied your legal matter is an appropriate expenditure of public funds. This requires a reasonable prospect of success. For criminal matters, a reasonably arguable defence is sufficient.
- Forum test: a grant of aid will only be granted for cases heard in South Australia.
- Funding caps: When the cost of a case reaches its funding cap, no further aid will be granted. For state criminal matters the cap is $50,000, or up to $100,000 if more than one party is represented. For Commonwealth criminal matters the cap is $40,000. For child protection cases the cap is $12,500 for each party and $17,500 for the child’s representative. For Commonwealth family law cases, the funding cap is $15,000 for each parent or guardian.
Mandatory Supporting Documents
In order for your application to be accepted, you must provide proof of means. Once you have completed the application form, you will be advised of the documents you are required to provide. Common supporting documents include:
- Centrelink income statement – Click here to access an easy to follow (4) step guide;
- Your 4 most recent payslips if you are working;
- Bank statements for the last two months (60 days); and
- If you have a financially associated person, you must also provide the above documents for them.
If you do not include this information, your application will not be accepted and we will not be able to assist you further with applying for legal aid.
Why Was My Legal Aid Application Refused?
The LSC does not accept every application for a grant of legal aid. If your application is refused, you will be advised of the reason why in a letter. Typically, a grant of aid is refused when:
- Another avenue of help is available;
- Financial circumstances evidence you can afford private representation; or
- Where chances of success are poor.
If aid is refused, you normally have fourteen (14) days to appeal the decision. Our lawyers have successfully appealed many refusals and standing by to assist you.
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How do I Apply for Legal Aid?
In order to obtain a grant of legal aid, you must first complete a Legal Aid SA Application Form. Download your copy here. You can also apply online here. If you do not have access to computer or are experiencing difficulty, please book a free no obligation appointment with our legal aid lawyers. We will be more than happy to assist you.
Does Legal Aid Cost Anything?
There is no cost in applying for legal aid. However, if legal aid is granted, you must pay a contribution toward your legal costs. The minimum contribution is $30, but may be more depending on your financial circumstances.
What Can’t I Get Legal Aid For?
The LSC does not provide funding for the following:
- Family Property Settlements, unless there are special circumstances;
- Traffic Offences, unless there is a risk of imprisonment, for example: driving while disqualified;
- Probate and deceased estate claims;
- Complaints against police and lawyers;
- Defamation cases;
- Fencing disputes;
- Bankruptcy act matters;
- Applying for or defending intervention orders, unless you are charged with breaching an intervention order;
- Unfair Dismissal and minor civil claims;
- Minor criminal matters including minor drug offences where there is no risk of imprisonment; and
- Victims of crime compensation unless exceptional circumstances exist.
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