Skip to main content

Important COVID-19 information
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Attorney-General’s Department: Find out how our services are being delivered and how you can access them. For the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from the Australian Government, visit Australia.gov.au

Legal assistance for people engaging with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

As part of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide 2 legal assistance mechanisms will be provided. This includes:

  • A national legal advice service for legal advice and information about engaging with the Royal Commission
  • Legal financial assistance for entities giving evidence or formally engaging with the Royal Commission

National legal advice service

A legal advice service will be established for people who want to engage with the Royal Commission. The legal advice service will operate nationally and provide legal advice and information to assist Australian Defence Force personnel and veterans, their families, carers and supporters to access and engage with the Royal Commission. It will be an independent, trauma-informed, culturally safe and accessible service. The legal advice service will enable people to understand their legal rights and options in engaging with the Royal Commission.

The legal advice service will provide referral to counselling and other support services to ensure a holistic and cooperative approach to assisting people to engage with the Royal Commission. The legal advice service will not require the individual to be a formal witness of the Royal Commission.

The service will run for the duration of the Royal Commission. We are currently running a grant process to establish the service. We will provide more information about this shortly.

Legal financial assistance scheme

We administer legal financial assistance for entities giving evidence or other forms of formal engagement with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

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, or attend a private session (if the Royal Commission authorises legal representation to be present) of the Royal Commission.
  • They are requested to attend or are attending an interview of the Royal Commission.
  • They are requested to provide a written statement that will be used as evidence of the Royal Commission.
  • They are required to comply with a notice to produce issued by the Royal Commissioner.

If your organisation has been called by the Royal Commission, 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.

Apply for assistance

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, call:

  • 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

Organisations must provide full details of the applicant's financial circumstances. This includes:

  • annual income from all sources
  • total value of assets
  • total balance of savings/shares.

Attach supporting documentation to the application, such as:

  • the last 6 months of bank statements
  • latest tax assessments
  • annual financial statements.

We treat all information you provide to support the application in confidence.

Costs that are covered

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

Refer to the publication Commonwealth legal financial assistance - Assessment of costs for detailed information of what is payable and at what rate.

Find out more about financial assistance in the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012: Addendum for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

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 Royal Commission, we will try to assess your application before the date of your appearance.

Payments process

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.

Legal framework

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

The Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012: Addendum for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide modify how the guidelines operate.

Find out more

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 for people engaging with the Royal Commission

Office of the Royal Commission

To contact the Royal Commission directly, visit the Defence and Veteran Suicide Royal Commission website.

Where to get support

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

  • Triple zero (000) if you need immediate help or feel like you may hurt yourself
  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – 24-hour crisis support line (Nightly text line 0477 131 114)
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 – 24-hour counselling service for suicide prevention and mental health
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636