What is Legal Aid?
Legal Aid is a government initiative that provides funding and assistance to people who need legal representation and are unable to afford a private lawyer.
Not all private law firms are approved to take on Legal Aid cases. We are.
Fourtree Lawyers criminal law solicitors are members of the NSW Legal Aid Summary Crime and Indictable Crime Panels. We are not able to offer Legal Aid for Family Law matters.
If you, your partner, family member or friend are eligible for a grant of Legal Aid our panel solicitors may be assigned by Legal Aid to provide you with legal assistance and Court representation for serious criminal law matters including:
- Bail applications
- Local Court defended hearings
- Local Court committal hearings
- District Court sentence matters
- District Court trials
- District Court appeals
- Appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal
Why do you do Legal Aid?
Fourtree Lawyers have a long-standing commitment to ensuring that everyone has equitable access to justice and competent legal representation. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to obtain sound legal advice and quality representation, including you.
Am I eligible for Legal Aid?
To be eligible for Legal Aid you will need to meet their merit and means test. The merits test looks at whether you have a reasonable prospect of success and whether providing legal assistance will benefit you. The means test looks at your income and assets. You may be eligible if:
- You are receiving a Centrelink allowance,
- You are in custody, or
- You are receiving a very low income
The Legal Aid New South Wales website has an online Means Test calculator which will give you an idea whether you would be eligible for a grant of Legal Aid
How do I apply for Legal Aid?
We offer affordable fixed fees for many of our services. However, if you are unable to afford our services, you may be eligible for a Legal Aid grant. To apply, it is a matter of filling out a Legal Aid application form. This form can be found on the Legal Aid website.
We can assist you in completing the form and we can also lodge it online through the Legal Aid Grants portal on your behalf. You will need to provide supporting documents such as bank statements, payslips and any Centrelink documents.
If you wish for Fourtree Lawyers to represent you with a grant of Legal Aid a consultation with us prior to applying is recommended as we can lodge the completed form for you and follow the progress of the application online.
Can I nominate my own Lawyer?
Yes, you can. The solicitor you wish to nominate must be a panel member of the Legal Aid Commission to be able to represent you and they must also be a member of the appropriate panel. If a grant of Legal Aid is approved, the Legal Aid Commission then decides whether the matter will be kept inhouse or you will be assigned to the firm of your choice.
If you have a prior relationship with a particular solicitor or firm, if there are co-accused already being represented by Legal Aid, there is another conflict of interest or the Legal Aid in-house solicitor cannot take on any more matters you will usually be assigned to the solicitor you have requested.
As your nominated Legal Aid Law Firm we will give your matter the attention, resources and preparation required to get you the best possible outcome.
Can I choose my own Barrister?
It depends. If a matter requires a barrister to be briefed, the Public Defenders Office must first be approached to see if a Public Defender is available. If there are none available, then generally your Legal Aid solicitor can select a barrister. In some serious matters, Senior Counsel (SC) can be briefed.
Do you visit Legal Aid clients in gaol?
We regularly visit clients in gaols across NSW. If you or a family member are in custody, we will organise gaol visits to get all the necessary information needed to represent you effectively in Court.
Can you represent a client anywhere in NSW?
The Legal Aid Commission has some restrictions on funding travel and accommodation. However, you can still nominate us as your preferred firm. It may be the case that you do not want a local solicitor to represent you for a serious crime.
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience defending Legal Aid clients throughout Sydney, Newcastle, The Hunter Region, The Central Coast and other NSW Courts.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence and the police invite you to participate in a record of interview you should exercise your “right to silence” and call us immediately.
Your lawyer can explain and guide you through the Legal Aid application process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.
Contact our Newcastle & Central Coast Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building the strongest case possible, the higher your chance of getting the best outcome.
Here is a link to the Legal Aid New South Wales Website - https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/get-legal-help/applying-for-legal-aid
Kevin and Jane are without a doubt 100% there to support you through Your whole ordeal reassuring you all the way My experience from finding Fourtree Lawyers on Google in a fairly unsure position, reading the reviews to the successful outcomes was the only referral I had, believe me when I say you will be happy with their experience in all fields of law which is insurmountable and they will obtain the best favourable outcome in any circumstance. Fourtree Lawyers are there for you to bring things back into perspective...
“Kevin and Jane were my “knights in shining armour.” I can’t thank these two people enough. They gave their everything and most important believed me when I told them my story. I am forever grateful for their professional attitude and for giving 100% to free me from my nightmare. I was able to plead guilty but also most importantly was not forced to lie and compromise my integrity and own personal values and standards. I was very happy with the outcome and the way I was treated. They communicated constantly...
Had the most amazing experience with Fourtree Lawyers kevin vierboom who represented my partner was helpful and understanding and we got a great result better then expected ? jane hogan, I was so blessed to have her by my side. They are an amazing team and i would recommend them to everyone also great value for money. Especially considering i only called the morning of the court case and they were all over it at my bek and call thankyou so much guys im so appreciative for all your help today
I was lucky enough to have Kevin take my case and am truly grateful for the services he and his team provided. From the outset, I was made to feel comfortable and knew from the first time meeting with them that they would go above and beyond to get the best possible outcome and that is exactly what they did. Fourtree Lawyers provides exceptional service with outstanding results and I would recommend Kevin to anyone and everyone who is in need of these services.
Affray, 2 x Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm T2 | Gosford Local Court
Our client, a 24-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast with his partner, was charged with affray and 2 counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm T2. The maximum penalties for these offences are 10 years imprisonment and 5 years imprisonment respectively. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom conducted negotiations with the police to obtain agreed facts in this matter. Mr. Vierboom made extensive submissions to the Court with regard to whether or not the conduct by our client was unlawful in the circumstances of this case. Following consideration of these submissions, the Magistrate formed the view that our client’s conduct was indeed not unlawful in the circumstances. The Magistrate dismissed the matter and our client was free to go. Our client was extremely grateful for the outcome of this case.
12-month Community Correction Order | Affray & Destroy or damage property | Wyong Local Court
Our client is a 19-year-old male who lives with his girlfriend on the Central Coast. Our client is working full time as a tradesman in Newcastle and Coffs Harbour.
Our client had a disagreement with his girlfriend on the morning of the offence. Several hours later, our client sought to resolve the issue and drove over to see her. On arrival at the house, our client and his girlfriend went for a walk to talk through their issues. During the conversation our client became agitated. The occupants of the house saw this and began to scream and shout at our client. Our client punched a fence in frustration, resulting in damage to the fence. A shouting match followed, and Police arrived soon after at the request of a local resident. On Police arrival, our client was charged with Affray and Destroy or Damage Property.
Solicitor Erin Nulty attended Court and made submissions in mitigation of the penalty, focusing on our client’s young age and lack of criminal record. The Magistrate accounted for these factors and convicted and sentenced our client to 12-month Community Corrections Order.
Our client was pleased with the result, especially given the maximum penalties for Affray include 10 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
12-month CCO | Affray | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 26-year-old male. He lives with his partner in Gosford and supports her financially as she studies full-time.
During an evening at a nightclub on the Central Coast, our client got into a verbal altercation with the co-accused. Both parties were heavily intoxicated at the time and upon leaving the venue they continued their verbal taunts at each other. The tension escalated and resulted in a violent wrestle which took place on a public roadway. The fight ended with the Police using Capsicum spray on both parties.
Our client was charged with affray, the maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment in the District Court and a fine of $11,000.
Solicitor Denise McCarthy attended Gosford Local Court and made submissions in mitigation of the penalty. Our client was convicted and received a 12-month Community Corrections Order with no fine.
Considering the heavy potential penalties, this was a fantastic result. Our client was very pleased with the outcome.
Appeal Allowed | Affray and destroy or damage property | Gosford District Court
Our client, a 47-year-old Central Coast man, was charged with affray and destroy or damage property. The maximum penalties for these offences are ten years imprisonment and 5 years imprisonment respectively. Our client served his Country overseas with the Australian Army. He was discharged from the army with PTSD. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom initially made a section 32 Application pursuant to the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990. The Magistrate was of the view that a section 32 was not appropriate for the offences before the court, convicted our client and ordered a Good Behaviour Bond for a term of 2 years pursuant to section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
Our client instructed us to appeal the sentence handed down in the Local Court on the basis of severity. On appeal to the Gosford District Court, Mr Vierboom made further submissions. Following consideration of these submissions, the Judge upheld the appeal and ordered a section 10(1)(b) Good Behaviour Bond for 2 years without proceeding to conviction on the condition that our client is of good behaviour for the term of the bond and continues professional counselling and medical treatment.
Our client was relieved to regain his unblemished record.
12 month Community Correction Order | Affray and Common Assault | Gosford District Court
Our client is a 45-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast with his wife and 2 sons. He works in maintenance for a large company in Sydney.
On the day of the offence, our client attended a licensed premise for a birthday dinner with his family. Also at the venue was a rugby team that had been drinking for a large part of that day. One of the members of the rugby team made a false accusation directed at our client’s son. The provocation escalated and an altercation took place. A number of patrons became embroiled in the incident which lasted several minutes before all patrons were asked by security to leave the premises. The entire event was captured on CCTV. Our client was charged with Affray and Common Assault.
Prior to entering a plea, representations were made to the Police in relation to the Common Assault charge. After consideration of the evidence presented, the Common Assault charge was withdrawn by the Police and a guilty plea was entered to the charge of Affray.
Our client attended Gosford Local Court and was represented by our Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom. Our client pleaded guilty to the offence and submissions were made in mitigation of his sentence. The Magistrate convicted our client and sentenced him to a 12-month Community Corrections Order with no fine, which requires him to be of good behaviour and no fine
This was a great result considering the maximum penalty for Affray is 10 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
Affray | $900 fine | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 19-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast and works as a cook.
On a night out in Terrigal with some friends, our client became involved in an incident which was captured on CCTV footage. He was arrested and charged with Affray.
The maximum penalties for Affray are 10 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
At the Police station, our client was advised by one of the officers that he should plead guilty or the CCTV footage would be shown, and he may face further charges. Having never been in trouble before our client trusted to Police to give him the right advice and went to Court on his own and entered a plea of guilty. The Magistrate was very concerned that our client was unrepresented due to the seriousness of the charges and suggested that our client seek legal advice.
Our client came to see us the next day and after review of the case it became clear that the Police facts were greatly exaggerated, and an application was made to uplift the guilty plea.
This allowed our solicitor the enter negotiations with the Police to have the facts downgraded to reflect the correct version of the what happened on the night. It was apparent from the CCTV footage that our client was involved in the incident but not to the extent outlined in the original Police version.
After successful negotiations, a revised set of facts were drafted and a guilty plea was entered. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions as to our client’s version of the events on the night, his unblemished record, his plans for travel and further education and his previous good character. The Magistrate ordered a $900 fine with no bond or further conditions.
Our client attended a Hotel in Woy Woy with two friends. Just before closing time, our client saw his friend being assaulted. Our client pulled the other male away from his friend and they began to walk towards the Hotel exit. While in the foyer, words were exchanged between the parties. Our client punched the male who had assaulted his friend. The incident lasted about 1 minute and our client left the hotel with his friends. Police were called, CCTV footage confirmed the incident and our client was charged with Affray.
Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions which focused on our client’s clean criminal record, stable employment and family situation and addressed on medical issues related to an assault he suffered some 12 years prior which required brain surgery.
The Magistrate imposed a 2-year Conditional Release Order with no conviction.
Affray carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment. Our client was elated to receive a Conditional Release Order without conviction.
Robbery in Company, Assault Occasioning ABH in Company, Larceny, Affray | Client Released on ICO | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 27-year-old male. He was in custody on remand charged with Robbery in Company, Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, Larceny and Affray after an altercation between two groups of males broke out in a park one evening.
The maximum penalty for the offence of Robbery in Company is 20 years imprisonment, the maximum penalty for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm in Company is 7 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty for Larceny is a fine of $5,500 and/or 12 months imprisonment, and the offence of Affray carries the maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom negotiated to have the proceedings kept in the Local Court where the maximum term of imprisonment is capped at 2 years. He made Representations to NSW Police resulting in one of the charges being withdrawn. The Magistrate imposed a $200 fine for the offence of Larceny and ordered that the client be immediately released from custody under an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO) in satisfaction of the remaining offences.
Our client was extremely grateful to have his matter resolved and to be released from custody to return home to his family.