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Special circumstances scheme

The Attorney-General's Department may help people in special circumstances with the legal cost of Australian or overseas proceedings.

Assistance under this scheme will only be granted in the most exceptional of circumstances.

What are special circumstances?

Special circumstances include:

  • where no other scheme of legal financial assistance applies, but there is a moral obligation on the Commonwealth to make a grant
  • where a statutory scheme of legal financial assistance applies, but produces an unintended, anomalous, inequitable or otherwise unacceptable result.

In addition, the Attorney-General may help a person with their legal costs if:

Before applying

The department will not generally grant funding:

  • to people who can meet their legal costs without incurring serious financial difficulty, or
  • for costs incurred before an application is made.

How to apply—Australian legal matter

There are two ways to send an application; however, online applications are preferred. You can:

  1. Apply online now
  2. 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.

How to apply—overseas legal matter

There are two ways to submit an application, however online applications are preferred. You can:

  1. Apply online now
  2. 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.

Guidelines

More information is available in the guidelines:

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

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