What is a contribution?

A grant of aid to pay for a lawyer is not always free. You may be asked to contribute money to help cover some or all of the costs involved in providing a lawyer. This is called paying a contribution.

This information will help you to understand what happens if you are required to make a contribution. Find out:

  • why you need to pay a contribution
  • how Legal Aid WA decides the amount of your contribution
  • if we charge fees or interest
  • what you can do if you are unhappy about your contribution.

Why do I need to pay a contribution?

Asking you to pay a contribution allows Legal Aid WA to help more people. Before you are given a grant of aid, Legal Aid WA asks about your financial situation to see if you could afford to hire a lawyer yourself.  We ask for a contribution if you cannot afford the full cost of hiring a lawyer, but you have some money that you can put towards your legal costs.

When you pay a contribution, it lets us help pay for a grant of aid to someone else.

How does Legal Aid WA decide the amount of my contribution?

Legal Aid WA may ask you to pay a contribution depending on:

  • your income and assets
  • the income and assets of anyone else that gives you financial support
  • the likely costs of your case.

You must tell us straight away about any changes to your financial situation. Otherwise, your grant of aid may be cancelled. 

Legal Aid WA can review your grant of aid at any time, and can make a decision that you must pay a contribution at the beginning, middle and end of your case.

For example:

  • You might need to pay a contribution before any work can be performed under your grant of aid.
  • If your grant of aid is extended, you might be asked to make a contribution towards the extra amount of the grant.
  • If you are awarded money or costs by a court at the end of your case, Legal Aid WA might ask for some of that money as a contribution.

Legal Aid WA will never ask you to pay a contribution that is more than the total amount we spend on your grant of aid.

How do I pay the contribution?

Legal Aid WA can ask you pay a contribution in different ways, including:

  • by paying a cash contribution before work under your grant of aid can start
  • giving security for your contribution
  • paying a final contribution after your matter has ended (including the amounts of any unpaid initial contributions).

The type of contribution you must make, and how it can be paid, will depend on your financial situation and conditions of your grant of aid. You will receive a letter from Legal Aid WA that explains your options. 

If your grant of aid is assigned to one of our lawyers, cash contributions can be paid to Legal Aid WA by direct debit, cheque, money order or in person at our offices.

If your grant of aid is assigned to a private lawyer, the lawyer must collect the contribution for Legal Aid WA. You should contact them to discuss how they want the contribution to be paid.

You should contact us or the lawyer assigned your grant of aid straight away if you cannot pay the contribution by the due date, or to discuss the arrangements for paying your contribution.

Does Legal Aid WA charge fees or interest on the contribution?

No, no interest or fee is charged on the contribution.

What if I am unhappy with a decision about a contribution?

You can ask for decisions about contributions to be reconsidered and reviewed.

 

Reviewed: 27 April 2018

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Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.