Establish a protocol to govern eligibility for a grant of legal aid to carers, where the child’s best interests would be better or more appropriately secured by obtaining Family Court orders, rather than by proceedings in the Youth Court. Further, that funding be provided to the Legal Services Commission and quarantined for this specific purpose.
The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation in principle.
A consultation process will need to occur involving the Federal Circuit Court, the Family Court, the Legal Services Commission and other relevant partners in developing an appropriate protocol which gives effect to the intention of this recommendation.
Further, the Commonwealth Government provides the Legal Services Commission with funding to be used for family law proceedings and other ‘Commonwealth law matters’. As such, the government will request the Commonwealth Government to provide funding to cover any matters which come within that protocol.
Under guidelines established by the Legal Services Commission to grant legal aid to carers in matters where the child’s best interests would be better or more appropriately secured by obtaining Family Court orders rather than by proceedings in the Youth Court, five matters have received a grant of aid. The guidelines are activated where an application is made for legal aid by a carer, on the suggestion of the department.
All five applications were made in October and November 2017. Every application for such aid has been granted.
The funding to be provided to the Legal Services Commission and quarantined for this specific purpose has not yet been established.
Accepted in principle - Phase 2