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Legal assistance for people engaging with the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention

The National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention has been established to inquire into suicides of serving and former Australian Defence Force members.

We administer legal financial assistance for entities giving evidence or other forms of formal engagement with the National Commissioner.

In this section:

Eligibility for legal financial assistance

We may provide legal financial assistance to an entity for their reasonable legal representation and disbursement costs in the following situations:

  • They are called, or granted leave to appear, as a witness at a public or private hearing of the National Commissioner.
  • They are requested to attend or are attending an interview of the National Commissioner.
  • They are requested to provide a written statement that will be used as evidence of the National Commissioner.
  • They are required to comply with a notice to produce issued by the National Commissioner.
  • They are requested to attend or are attending an individual or group interview with the National Commissioner, during the course of the Independent Review of Past Australian Defence Force and Veteran Suicides.
  • The National Commissioner formally requests them to provide a written statement during the course of the Independent Review of Past Australian Defence Force and Veteran Suicides.

If your organisation has been called by the National Commissioner, the organisation will be assessed to determine whether it can meet the cost of its legal representation without incurring serious financial difficulty.

If you have been called in your personal capacity, you will be exempt from an assessment of financial circumstances.

How to apply

To submit an application, download and complete the Application form for legal financial assistance.

Scan and email your completed application with supporting documents to finass@ag.gov.au.

If you cannot send your application by email, please telephone Legal Financial Assistance Casework on 02 6141 4770 or 1800 117 995 between 8.30am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment contact us through the National Relay Service and give 02 6141 4770 as the number you would like to call.

Supporting information on financial circumstances

The organisation must provide full details of the applicant's financial circumstances, including annual income from all sources, total value of assets and total balance of savings/shares. Supporting documentation, such as the last six months of bank statements, latest tax assessments, and/or annual financial statements should be attached to the application.

We treat all information you provide us in confidence.

What costs are covered

We will pay for reasonable legal representation and disbursement costs that you incur as a witness for the National Commissioner. These could include your solicitor's costs (such as attendance or preparation of documents) and disbursements (such as solicitor's travel, photocopying).

The Assessment of Costs provides detailed information of what is payable and at what rate.

More information about financial assistance is set out below in the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012: Addendum for the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.

Assessment timeframes

Completed applications will be assessed within 21 days. Incomplete applications will not be assessed. We will notify you if your application is incomplete to request missing information.

If you receive less than 21 days' notice of appearing or attending an interview of the National Commissioner, we will try to assess your application before the date of your appearance.

How are payments made

If a grant is approved, we will only pay after the work has been performed and you have lodged a claim with us.

The Commonwealth legal financial assistance - Assessment of costs sets the maximum amount that we can pay under grants.

The Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012 establish the Royal Commission and Inquiries scheme.

The Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012: Addendum to support the inquiries of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention modify how the guidelines operate.

Find out more

You can contact the Legal Financial Assistance Casework team:

  • call 02 6141 4770 or 1800 117 995 (between 8:30am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday)
  • email finass@ag.gov.au

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment contact us through the National Relay Service and give 02 6141 4770 as the number you would like to call.

Other assistance available for people engaging with the National Commissioner

Office of the National Commissioner

Where to get support

If you, or someone you know, need support, contact:

  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • Open Arms (current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel and their families can seek this free and confidential support) – 1800 011 046
  • ADF Mental Health All-hours Support Line (for current serving Australian Defence Force personnel and their families) on 1800 628 036.