Serious overseas criminal matters

The Attorney-General's Department may help Australians facing serious criminal charges in an overseas country with the cost of their defence.

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

Who is eligible?

Assistance is only available where the accused person is at risk of being punished by:

  • imprisonment for 20 years or more, or
  • the death penalty.

Assistance will not generally be granted to people who:

  • can meet the cost without incurring serious financial difficulty
  • are eligible for legal assistance in the overseas country
  • do not have a continuing connection with Australia.

What assistance is available?

The department may cover legal fees relating to the defence, and other related expenses. We 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 processed within 28 days.

If your application is incomplete, you will be contacted for more information.


More information is available in the guidelines:

Monetary limits apply to certain disbursements. More information is available in the department's cost assessment policy:

Consular assistance

Information about consular assistance can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.