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Commonwealth public interest and test cases

The Attorney-General’s Department may provide financial assistance with the cost of Commonwealth cases that are of public importance.

Applications can be made to the department for grants to cover legal fees and other expenses.

What is a case of public importance?

A case of public importance is one that, in the opinion of the Attorney-General, will:

  • settle an uncertain area or question of Commonwealth law
  • resolve a question of Commonwealth law that affects the rights of a disadvantaged section of the public.

Who is eligible?

The department will not, generally, grant funding to people who can meet the cost without incurring serious financial difficulty.

The department will not, generally, cover the cost of any legal fees or expenses incurred before an application is made.

How to apply

To apply, download an application form and email a completed copy to finass@ag.gov.au with the required attachments:

If you cannot send your application by email, contact the Financial Assistance Section.

Assessment timeframe

Complete applications will be assessed within 28 days.

Incomplete applications will not be assessed and you will be notified if your application is incomplete.


More information is available in the:

Information for lawyers

If assistance is granted, the department is to be invoiced directly, by email to finass@ag.gov.au.

Complete invoices will be paid in about 28 days. Incomplete invoices will be returned without being assessed.

More information is available in the department’s cost assessment policy: