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Legal assistance for people engaging with the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme

Legal financial assistance scheme

We administer legal financial assistance for entities – including individuals – requested to formally engage with the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme.

Eligibility for legal financial assistance

We may provide legal financial assistance to an entity for their reasonable legal representation and disbursement costs when they are:

  • called, or granted leave to appear, as a witness at a hearing of the Royal Commission
  • requested to attend or are attending an interview of the Royal Commission
  • requested to provide a written statement that will be used as evidence of the Royal Commission
  • required to comply with a notice to produce issued by the Royal Commission.

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

When submitting an application for legal financial assistance, an organisation should provide full details about its financial circumstances. This includes:

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

All information you provide to support the application will be treated confidentially.

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

Legal assistance for Australian Government Ministers and employees of non-corporate Commonwealth entities (current and former)

An application for legal financial assistance under this scheme will only be accepted where:

  • a current or former Australian Government Minister has exhausted all options for legal assistance under Division 2 of Part 5 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017, or
  • a current or former employee of a non-Corporate Commonwealth entity, or a person currently or formerly employed as a member of a Minister’s staff under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 has exhausted all options for assistance under Appendix E to the Legal Services Directions 2017.

Current or former ministers can contact the Office of Legal Services Coordination for information on seeking legal assistance under the Regulations or the Directions.

Requests for assistance should be made to the Attorney-General.

Current or former officers or employees of the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency should contact the relevant employing agency for assistance in relation to Appendix E to the Legal Services Directions 2017.

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 and 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.

All information you provide to support the application will be treated confidentially.

Costs that are covered

We will pay for reasonable legal representation and disbursement costs that you incur in responding to a formal request from 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).

For detailed information of what is payable and at what rate, see Commonwealth legal financial assistance - Assessment of costs.

Find out more about financial assistance in the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012: Addendum for the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme.

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 of notice to appear before, or attend 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 Robodebt modify how the guidelines operate.

Find out more

Contact the Legal Financial Assistance Casework team:

  • call 02 6141 4770 or 1800 117 995 (between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, 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 Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme.

Where to get support

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