Evaluation of the Lawyer-assisted Property Mediation: Legal Aid Commission Trial

Content type

Family law and family separation

About the evaluation

The Australian Attorney-General’s Department is trialling a program in which Legal Aid Commissions will provide lawyer-assisted mediation services in small value property matters up to $500,000. AIFS has been commissioned to evaluate the trial.

The trial

Under the trial, the aim is for Legal Aid lawyers to support clients with small property pools through the mediation process, providing legal advice as required and assisting parties to reach an agreement between themselves, to document their agreement and file it with the court. If an agreement cannot be reached after mediation, lawyers will be able to continue to provide advice to clients about their options, and assist them through the court process.

The evaluation

Subject to the required ethical and research clearances, it is proposed that the evaluation will involve:

  • analysing administrative and aggregate case data
  • profiling how the trial operates in each jurisdiction
  • conducting interviews with professionals and clients
  • producing case studies.

There will also be a social return on investment analysis to measure the financial, economic and social effects of the trial.


The Lawyer-assisted Property Mediation: Legal Aid Commission Trial will run for two years, from 1 January 2020 until 31 December 2021, in each Australian state and territory.

The final evaluation report is due to the Australian Attorney-General’s Department in June 2022.

The trial is one of two initiatives funded under the Women’s Economic Security Package. The other is the Small Claims Property Pilot, which is also referred to as the Priority Property Pools under $500,000 (PPP500), which is also being evaluated by AIFS.