Important information about the management of court-ordered family violence grants

Important information about the management of court-ordered family violence grants

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

As we continue to manage the impact of COVID-19 on family violence matters in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, it is important for practitioners to keep files open while new hearing dates are allocated.

The Assignments team at Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) has continued to allocate all s71 and s72 court ordered family violence grants during the pandemic for three important reasons.

  1. To reduce stress and create certainty for parties in family violence proceedings awaiting the allocation of their matter to a lawyer.
  2. To reduce the backlog of matters yet to be allocated in turn reducing further delays processing allocations when the hearing of contested matters resume.
  3. To support panel lawyers by continuing to provide legally aided work.

We are aware that in some court locations some contested hearings are being adjourned to a further mention rather than being allocated a new contest date. We acknowledge that the s71 and s72 grant of assistance does not provide a fee for appearance at mention, and we are working closely with the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria on this issue.

If your matter has been given a mention date, but it remains contested, please keep the file open while we work towards a solution with the court. This will ensure continuity of service for clients and avoid further delays in the processing of unnecessary grants.

We acknowledge that in these circumstances your client may need to appear in person at the mention of their case. We will endeavour to provide these clients with assistance where our duty lawyer resources allow.

As always, if your client’s circumstances change or their matter becomes more complex you should consider whether they are eligible for a substantive grant of aid.

More information

Please contact the Assignments team for any queries relating to a court-ordered grant on (03) 9269 0600 or assignmentsfamily@vla.vic.gov.au  

Clients can also contact Legal Help about their family violence matter via online chat or by calling 1300 792 387.

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