Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants

Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants is now underway, with public hearings expected to commence in late March 2019. We have received a number of enquiries about funding for legal representation from people who may be required to give evidence or granted leave to appear before the royal commission.

We do not have a guideline which specifically covers legal assistance for people appearing before a royal commission. As such, there is no automatic entitlement to assistance to appear before one. However, we do have a Public Interest and Strategic Litigation guideline, which covers assistance in a proceeding which 'is not otherwise covered by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) guidelines and carries significant public benefit.'

At present, applications for assistance to appear before the royal commission will be assessed under this guideline. In deciding whether to grant legal assistance under the public interest guideline, we must have regard to several considerations, including whether the matter 'carries significant public benefit' and 'the likely cost of the proceedings'. The VLA means test applies to applications under this guideline in the usual way.

We are not currently in a position to provide legal assistance for preparation of submissions to the royal commission.

In order to expedite any application for legal assistance for representation at the royal commission, we will require the following information to accompany an application for legal aid:

  • if applicable, proof that the person has been issued with a notice to appear by the royal commission
  • if applicable, proof that the person has been granted leave to appear and/or to cross-examine a witness
  • the royal commission’s written response to any application for leave to appear and/or approval that the person may be legally represented
  • a copy of the person’s application and supporting submission to the royal commission seeking leave
  • details about previous grants of legal assistance
  • information about the person’s and their partner’s income and assets.

Any telephone enquiries from prisoners located at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Ravenhall Correctional Centre, Loddon Prison Precinct (Middleton), Metropolitan Remand Centre, and Port Phillip Prison, can call *#18 to be connected to VLA’s Prisoner Help line.

Any telephone enquiries from legal representatives about the royal commission can be made to Victoria Legal Aid on 9606 5356.


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