Application for Legal Aid - Privacy Statement and Conditions
To access the Commission's online legal aid application form please acknowledge our legal aid privacy statement and conditions by clicking the accept or decline button at the bottom of this page.
The information you give us in your application form will be used to:
• assess your eligibility for legal aid
• help your lawyer with your legal representation
• update your personal details in our records
• evaluate our services.
LSC also gives statistical information, after removing names of applicants, to the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department, and the South Australian Attorney-General.
Under section 31A of the Legal Services Commission Act 1977, the information remains confidential in most cases.
Your information will not be given to any other person or agency unless you give us permission or we are required by law.
1. PROOF OF MEANS
Before we can process your application we need copies of your:
(a) Bank statements or passbooks for the last two months,
(b) Centrelink Income Statement,
(c) Payslips for the last four weeks (if working),
(d) Last tax return and last profit & loss statement (if self-employed).
We must also have copies of these documents from a financially associated person. A financially associated person may include a spouse, de facto, company, trust, partnership or other financial entity.
1A. RELEVANT DOCUMENTS
You must also provide copies of relevant court orders, proceedings, summons, bail agreements etc., which relate to the application for legal aid, and which will assist our assessment.
2. CHOICE OF LAWYER
If there is a particular lawyer whom you want to handle your case, write his or her name on the form. If you do not have a particular lawyer in mind, we will choose one for you. If you prefer to see a male or female lawyer, please write this on the form too. We will take your choice into account when assessing the application, but we are unable to guarantee your choice of lawyer.
3. IMPORTANT CONDITIONS
If you accept legal aid, you accept the conditions in this document. If you do not want legal aid on these conditions, tell us now.
LEGAL AID IS NOT FREE
There are several ways in which you will be asked to pay money towards your legal aid:
We will work out how much you can afford to pay towards your case (a contribution).
The minimum contribution is $30 but you may be required to pay much more. If you are in custody until your case is over, you may not be required to pay a contribution. If you are required to pay a contribution and do not pay, your lawyer does not have to do any work for you. We may change the amount you have to pay as your case progresses.
(b) Charge Over Your Real Estate
If you and/or a financially associated person own or are buying real estate we will take a charge over that real estate if your case costs exceed $2,200.00. The charge makes sure that you pay back the whole cost of your case eventually. We do not sell your real estate but when you decide to sell, transfer or refinance it, or if you die, we collect the money from your estate. Most cases, apart from simple guilty pleas or very short criminal trials, cost more than $2,200.00. Read our charge brochure and ask your lawyer about this.
4. PAYING BACK YOUR COSTS
(a) If you get money from your legal case, such as compensation, damages or property settlement, you will have to pay back your legal aid in full.
(b) If we take a charge, the charge makes sure that you pay back your legal aid in full.
5. COST OF YOUR CASE
If you need to know the cost of your case from time to time, ask your lawyer. This is your responsibility, not ours. If you do not agree with your lawyer’s bill, you can have it checked by the Court, although you may have to pay for this.
6. OTHER COSTS YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY
(a) If you receive more money, e.g., if you get a job, an inheritance or other payment, or if you become financially supported by someone else, this will affect your legal aid. You must tell us if this happens. We will then work out whether you can still have legal aid and whether you have to pay another contribution.
(b)If you lose your case, you may have to pay the other side’s costs. We cannot help you with these costs. You will have to pay them yourself.
(c) If you get legal aid when you were not entitled to, we will require you to pay back the full amount. If you give us false, incomplete or misleading information, you could also be prosecuted.
(d) We can change the conditions of legal aid at any time and this could mean that you have to pay more.
(e) We cannot pay for any work your lawyer has already done without a grant of legal aid. This is your responsibility.
7. WHAT YOU MUST DO
(a) You must tell us and your lawyer if you change address. If you are released from prison, you must tell us and your lawyer where you will be living. If we cannot contact you, legal aid can be stopped and your lawyer can stop work on your case.
(b) You must tell us and your lawyer if your financial circumstances change. This includes if you get a job, enter a financially associated relationship, separate, receive money, etc.
(c) You must follow your lawyer’s advice. Legal aid can be stopped if you do not do this.
(d) You must tell your lawyer everything he or she needs to know about your case.
(e) You must tell us and your lawyer if you do not want legal aid. By accepting legal aid you accept these conditions. Ask your lawyer if you are unsure.
8. WHAT YOUR LAWYER MUST DO
(a) Your lawyer should keep you informed of the costs of your case, particularly where a charge may be taken over your real estate.
(b) Your lawyer must keep your case confidential, apart from some things which he or she must tell us, the other side and/or the Court.
(c) Your lawyer is required to give us any information we need about your case whenever we ask for it. If your lawyer thinks that you are unlikely to win the case, he or she must tell us and legal aid can be stopped.
(d) Your lawyer must tell us of any changes in your circumstances which could affect your legal aid.
(e) Your lawyer cannot charge for work done while you are on a grant of legal aid. Your lawyer will bill us for that work.
9. WHAT WE WILL DO
We will process your application once we receive the completed form and proof of means. This takes us about 7-14 days. You can ring us after this time if you have not heard. We will write to you telling you whether you are granted legal aid. The letter will tell you who your lawyer is and will ask you to contact them. It will also tell you about your contribution. If you are refused legal aid, the letter will tell you why and will explain how you can appeal. We will keep your legal aid matters confidential except in the following circumstances:
(a) If you ask us in writing to provide information to someone else, or, again in writing, you authorise someone else to get information from us.
(b) If there is information which your lawyer needs from us.
(c) If we are required by law, including a court order, to release the information.
(d) If we take a charge over your real estate, we send a copy of the charge document to your other lender(s) and the charge is registered at the Lands Titles Office.
10. RIGHT TO APPEAL
If you do not agree with our decision on your application, or with a condition of legal aid, you can appeal. To appeal, write to us within fourteen (14) days of our letter, telling us why you think the decision is wrong. You do not need a lawyer’s help to appeal. You can appeal by yourself, simply by writing a letter to us. Of course, you can pay a lawyer to appeal for you if you wish. We will write and let you know the result of your appeal.
11. IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION
Once you accept legal aid, the conditions of aid will apply to you whether or not you agree with them or understand them. If you do not understand the conditions of aid or need more information about legal aid, you can:
(a) ask your lawyer
(b) write to us
(c) attend one of our offices and speak to us about it, or,
(d) access the Practitioners Guide to Legal Aid on www.lsc.sa.gov.au
I acknowledge it is an offence to:
• Make a false or misleading statement when applying for legal aid
• Give a false or misleading statement when applying for legal aid
• Refuse to give information requested by LSC with the intent to deceive or mislead LSC.
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