The Law Aid scheme was established with the assistance of the Law Institute of Victoria and the Victorian Bar Council and was initially funded by a grant from the Victorian Government. It is now an independent self-funding scheme and its purpose is to assist people who are unable to afford the cost of civil litigation. It provides funding for out-of-pocket expenses such as medical reports and filing fees. It cannot pay for solicitors’ or barristers’ fees. People interested should contact their community legal centre or their own solicitor to complete an application form.
Law Aid can assist in personal injuries claims, claims against institutions involving oppressive behaviour, property claims, wills and estates matters and professional negligence claims, etc. Legal practitioners must act on a “no win, no fee” basis. Applicants pay a non-refundable application fee of $100. Eligibility for funding is assessed case-by-case on the basis of the applicant’s financial means and the legal merits of the case. Granting of assistance is at the Trustees’ discretion, and the Trustees do not give reasons for their decisions. If there is a successful outcome in a funded matter, the applicant must repay any amounts expended by Law Aid, plus a fee representing 5.5% of the award or settlement. If unsuccessful no repayment is required.
More information is available on the LIV website at www.liv.asn.au.