Firstly, a caveat (form 08X) is a warning that informs the public that someone has a priority interest in a property, and the party that lodges the caveat is the caveator. Secondly, an individual must have a ‘caveatable interest’ to lodge a caveat.
So, under what circumstances can Legal Aid NSW be a caveator?
Pursuant to Section 34B of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979, when a legally aided person owns real property, such as a house, Legal Aid NSW can request an equitable charge over the property in order to provide security for the cost (when estimated to be over $2000) of the legal service, unless it is an exempted matter. This charge gives Legal Aid a ‘caveatable interest’ under the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) allowing them to lodge a caveat. When Legal Aid NSW does this, it ensures that no dealing with a property will be registered without them being notified first.