Current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members may be eligible for legal assistance, or financial assistance to obtain legal assistance, for matters related to their service with Defence.
Civil and Criminal Proceedings
Current and former ADF members may be eligible for Commonwealth financial assistance for civil or criminal legal proceedings in which they are involved, if the proceedings arise out of an incident related to their service with Defence, and they have acted reasonably and responsibly.
Provision of financial assistance is discretionary. Approval is given on a case by case basis by a delegate within Defence Legal. This assistance does not include sourcing a legal representative.
The basis of financial assistance is the prospect of there being some benefit to the Commonwealth, such as:
- protect he Commonwealth’s financial interests; or
- being in the Commonwealth general interests, including to support current and former ADF members who have acted reasonably and responsibly in circumstances where the Commonwealth may not be vicariously liable for their actions.
Other Legal Matters
In addition, assistance may be approved for current and former ADF members who are involved in inquiries and investigations, or who are required to respond to notices to produce documents or subpoenas, and it is related to an incident that occurred during their service.
Making a Request for Legal Assistance
Legal assistance is being centrally coordinated through Defence Counsel Services. All requests for legal assistance are to be forwarded to Defence Counsel Services to the attention of Ms Bianca Joyce on email: [email protected].
Defence Counsel Services will acknowledge the receipt of all legal assistance requests and will:
- Provide to current or former ADF members information about the process for obtaining the requested legal assistance, including any forms required to be completed, and who the forms need to be sent to; and
- Provide details of the request for legal assistance to the relevant area with Defence (for example, Defence Legal or Defence Counsel Services) which will be responsible for following up with the current or former ADF member.
RELATED ARTICLE – The Inspector-General Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry (IGADF)
The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) Major General Paul Brereton is conducting an inquiry into rumours and allegations relating to the conduct of Australia’s Special Forces in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
This Inquiry, like all IGADF inquiries, is at arm’s length from the chain of command to ensure the independence and integrity of the process. This administrative inquiry started in 2016 and is being conducted in private.