Increase in funding for civil law matters

Increase in funding for civil law matters

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

On 2 April 2018 our civil law guidelines are changing to assist more Victorians facing significant legal issues. In particular, we will be able to assist more people with mental illnesses who are facing compulsory medical treatment and detention in psychiatric wards, more people who have a disability and are subject to a guardianship or administration order and more people facing eviction into homelessness. 

Executive Directors Civil Justice, Access and Equity, Rowan McRae and Melanie Schleiger said the review affirmed that meeting civil law need is an important part of our mission.

'According to legal needs research, civil law issues commonly have a major impact on people’s lives and are often inter-related with other legal problems, such as criminal offending. We also know that civil law issues have very serious consequences for people’s rights,' Rowan said.

The guideline review, the first systematic review in a decade, will help more Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) clients with legal issues in priority areas such as mental health and disability and residential tenancy. The key changes are:

  • increasing the scope of key mental health and disability guidelines – for Mental Health Tribunal matters, and for Guardianship and/or Administration matters at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), and introducing a new guideline for Supervised Treatment Order matters at VCAT
  • introducing a new guideline for eviction cases at VCAT where the application is due to tenant fault (other than rent arrears) and no alternative service (such as a VLA duty lawyer) is available
  • introducing an appeal and judicial review guideline for mental health and disability, tenancy and equal opportunity matters, to ensure key institutions can be held to account in the Supreme Court
  • amending the infringements guideline to reflect legislative changes
  • amending the general Commonwealth civil law guideline to include assistance for mediation. 

'We look forward to seeing more of VLA’s priority clients being assisted,' Rowan said.    

More information

If you have any queries about the new and amended civil law guidelines, please contact our Assignments Civil Law team by phone 9606 5356 or email

Read more about our Handbook changes on the Archived versions of the Handbook.

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