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Childcare matters

It may be the case in childcare matters, particularly where the parents are separated, that proceedings for a care order can arise at a District Court venue located a substantial distance from the law centre. It may also be the case that these matters may involve several applications by the Child and Family Agency for interim care orders before the application for the care order is heard and determined.

As with all matters where an agency service is likely to be provided, the application should first be processed and financial eligibility determined in the law centre where the application is received, and the applicant seen for a first consultation. If, after that, it becomes apparent that a childcare matter at a District Court venue over 150km from your law centre is likely to have several interim hearings before a final determination, contact the local law centre in the area and ask them to agree to the file being transferred. It may be that they are already acting for the other parent and if that is the case, ask another law centre in the area to take the case on the same basis.  If there is not another law centre within 80 kilometres then the Director of Civil Legal Aid/Regional Manager should be consulted.

Law centres who are asked to take a case on this basis must accept unless they are already acting for the other parent or there are other exceptional circumstances which stop them accepting the case. Because these cases are priority, demand for services at the law centre will not be accepted as exceptional circumstances which stop the law centre accepting the case.