Claims for criminal matters are prepared and submitted to the Board by a legal practitioner. All indemnity certificates granted in civil matters are prepared by the courts and submitted to the Board by legal practitioners.
The documentation required, and the procedures to follow, to make a claim to the ACB are set out in the ACB’s guidelines (available at www.justice.vic.gov.au). The requirements for each application may vary according to the type of proceeding involved.
Under section 35D of the AC Act, applications must be lodged with the ACB no later than 12 months after the final determination of the matter to which the indemnity certificate relates.
Note that certificates for criminal and civil matters are prepared by the courts and are (usually) submitted to the ACB by legal practitioners. The ACB plays no role in issuing certificates.
Indemnity certificates remain the property of the party named on the certificate. The ACB can only consider an application if it is made by the certificate holder’s current legal practitioner.
To apply to the ACB, submit an application via the ACB’s online portal at https://justice.service-now.com/acb. The portal will prompt applicants to supply the material that is required. The ACB does not consider incomplete applications.
Note that law firms must register to use the ACB’s portal; registration codes can be obtained by emailing email@example.com.
When a complete application is received by the Secretary of the ACB, it is reviewed and placed before the ACB as soon as practicable. Once the application has been considered (unless it is unsatisfactory or further material is required), a decision will be made about whether or not to authorise payment to the applicant of an amount determined by the ACB. An email is forwarded to the applicant or the applicant’s solicitors informing them of the ACB’s decision. The applicant does not need to attend the ACB’s meeting.
Depending on the level of complexity, this process can take approximately three months after all the documentation has been received by the ACB.