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Disbursement support scheme

The Attorney-General's Department provides assistance with the cost of legal disbursements in certain Commonwealth cases.

Disbursements are costs associated with legal action, other than the fees paid to be represented by a solicitor or a barrister.

Examples include the cost of:

  • expert reports
  • obtaining court transcripts
  • expert witness fees.

This scheme does not provide assistance with the cost of solicitor or barrister fees.

Before applying

To apply for assistance, the expected cost of disbursements must exceed $500 (inclusive of GST).

We will not make a grant of financial assistance to cover the cost of any disbursements paid before an application is made.

No assistance is available for:

  • criminal matters
  • state or territory legal matters, or
  • overseas legal matters.

No assistance is available to people who are receiving, or are eligible for:

  • a grant of legal financial assistance from this department under another scheme, or
  • assistance from a legal aid commission.

Assistance will not generally be granted to people who can meet their overall legal costs without incurring serious financial difficulty.

Special considerations

From 2 July 2018, the following considerations must be taken into account by the decision maker 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.

Further information about special considerations available on page 21 of the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012.

How to apply

Download an application form and a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check Form and email the completed copies to with the required attachments.

Please submit the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check Form directly to the department along with your completed application. Do not submit the form to any other organisation, as the department will submit it on your behalf as part of the assessment of your application.

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. You will be notified if your application is incomplete.

More information

Answers to frequently asked questions are available below:

More information is available in the department's guidelines:

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


Contact details

1800 117 995 OR 02 6141 4770
Outside Australia: +61 2 6141 4770