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You are here: Skip breadcrumbAttorney-General's Department >> Legal system >> Legal assistance programmes >> Commonwealth legal financial assistance >> Scheme for overseas criminal matters involving the death penalty

 Scheme for overseas criminal matters involving the death penalty

We may help Australians facing criminal charges involving the death penalty in an overseas country with the cost of their defence.

You can apply for grants to cover legal fees and other expenses. We will not, generally, cover the cost of any legal fees or expenses incurred before you apply.

On this page:

Changes to Commonwealth legal financial assistance

On 2 July 2018, the Attorney-General announced changes to the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012:

The changes include replacing the serious overseas criminal matters scheme with the scheme for overseas criminal matters involving the death penalty.

The scheme for overseas criminal matters involving the death penalty excludes cases where a person is facing imprisonment of 20 years or more (such cases were previously included in the serious overseas criminal matters scheme). Such a person may be eligible for funding by the Commonwealth under the revised special circumstances scheme.

Eligibility

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

Apply for assistance

Find out more about obtaining overseas penal certificates on page one of the application form. You can also find country-specific information on the Department of Home Affairs website.

    • Email your completed forms and any required attachments to finass@ag.gov.au 

Note: You must send the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check Form directly to us (finass@ag.gov.au). Do not submit the form to any other organisation – we will submit it on your behalf as part of your application assessment.

If you cannot send your application by email, contact the Financial Assistance Section on 1800 117 995 if you are calling from Australia, or +61 2 6141 4770 if you are calling from outside Australia.

Application assessments

Assessment timeframe

We will assess complete applications within 28 days. If your application is incomplete, we will notify you. We do not assess incomplete applications.

Assessment of costs

Monetary limits apply to certain disbursements. Read our cost assessment policy for more information:

Decision maker

From 2 July 2018, the Attorney-General is the decision maker for overseas criminal matter applications under both the scheme for overseas criminal matters involving the death penalty and the revised special circumstances scheme.

Special considerations

From 2 July 2018, the decision maker must take into account the following when considering applications:

  • whether the applicant has been the subject of criminal proceedings in Australia or overseas, and – if so – the gravity, nature and outcome of those proceedings
  • if the person is overseas, the circumstances under which they departed Australia.

Find out more about the special considerations on page 21 of the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012.

Get consular assistance

For consular assistance, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.​