What is a charge?

What is a charge?

A charge is a legal document that we ask you to sign so that Victoria Legal Aid is paid back the grant money if you sell, transfer, refinance or borrow on your house or property. You can sign a charge even if you have a mortgage. We can also ask you to sign a charge if you obtain property while you are getting legal assistance or at the end of your case.

You still own your property. We will not force you to sell, refinance or move out of your home.

If you agree to sign a charge, we will register a legal notice on your property at the Land Titles Office. This notice is called a caveat.

If you do not agree to sign a charge, we may stop your grant of assistance and refuse to pay your legal fees.

Get independent legal advice to help you decide whether you agree to the conditions of your grant.

Cost of a caveat

To register a caveat it usually costs less than $100. This cost is added to the amount of the charge.

If you sell, transfer or borrow against your house

If you plan to sell, transfer or borrow against your house you must tell us immediately. You have to pay the amount you owe us. Even if you buy another house, you will still have to pay Victoria Legal Aid, so it is best to contact us first to find out how much money you owe.

The Land Titles Office will tell us if you sell, transfer or borrow against your property.

How to remove the caveat

When you pay the money you owe us we will give you the forms you need to remove the caveat. You can choose to pay us back at any stage, not just when you sell the house.

Each year will review your financial situation

Each year you will be asked to fill in a financial statement. If your financial situation changes and we think you can afford it, we may ask you to make payments in the same way as a contribution (see What is a contribution?).

How we can help

Call us on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8.45 am to 5.15 pm, to find out about getting a grant of legal assistance.