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Head Note April 2013

Improvements for preferred suppliers 

More fee increases for private lawyers doing legal aid work

Legal Aid Queensland has increased the fee paid to preferred suppliers for providing conflict legal advices.

From 1 March 2013, private lawyers who do legal aid work will be paid a $60 flat fee for conflict legal advice matters, an increase of $23.

“As well as a growth in the actual fee, the fee increase also includes extending the standard conflict legal advice time from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, based on feedback from in-house lawyers and preferred suppliers,” Legal Aid Queensland CEO Anthony Reilly said.

“This fee increase recognises the growth in demand for conflict legal advice and the essential work preferred suppliers do in this area.

“The fee increase builds on our previous fee increases for criminal law duty lawyers and domestic violence matters, and reflects our commitment to deliver fee increases for private legal practitioners within our existing budget parameters.”

The sessional criminal law duty lawyer hourly fee increased by 10 percent. The hourly rate for domestic violence matters also increased by 10 percent and there was an increase to the maximum fee payable in domestic violence matters.

Streamlined application process for legal aid preferred suppliers

Legal Aid Queensland has streamlined its application process to deliver time-saving benefits to private law firms who do legal aid work.

“We have recently made changes to our Grants Online system, which will make the legal aid application submission process more efficient for preferred suppliers who submit applications on behalf of their clients,” Legal Aid Queensland Chief Executive Officer Anthony Reilly said.

Preferred suppliers can now attach electronic documents to their applications rather than having to email supporting documents separately. They can now also save each page of the online application form, which means they can save a partially completed application and return to complete it at a convenient time.

“These system changes will also improve our in-house grants processing practices, resulting in faster turnaround times for grant application assessments, extensions and invoicing.”


 New guide for duty lawyers appearing in Queensland magistrates and childrens courts

Legal Aid Queensland’s Criminal Law Duty Lawyer Handbook is now available online at
“We have published the handbook in ebook and portable document formats to improve access and updates to content for duty lawyers,” Legal Aid Queensland CEO Anthony Reilly said.
The Criminal Law Duty Lawyer Handbook is a succinct theoretical and practical guide for duty lawyer practitioners appearing in the magistrates or childrens courts in Queensland. It highlights most of the issues they are likely to encounter.


Flood legal help for Bundaberg residents 

Legal Aid Queensland is providing free legal information and advice to people affected by the recent floods and storms in Bundaberg.

In late February a team of lawyers travelled to Bundaberg to provide free legal information and advice at a community forum. The Insurance Council of Australia and the Financial Ombudsman coordinated the forum, which was attended by almost 200 people who had experienced damage to their property but were insured.

Our staff outlined the services we could provide to people, answered questions and then held legal information and advice clinics with affected residents.

We have also contributed $100,000 to the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House and the Taylor Street Community Legal Centre to help ensure people in flood-affected areas have access to free legal information and advice. 

The extra funding has allowed the Taylor Street Community Legal Centre to establish a temporary 1800 hotline number for flood-affected Queenslanders in the region to call for legal advice.

Flood victims can also access free factsheets and resources on the Flood and Cyclone Legal Help website, including a guide to help people with their insurance claims.

Legal Aid Queensland established this website during the 2011 natural disasters. Since then, we have helped hundreds of Queenslanders with their flood insurance matters, with our clients receiving nearly $14.5 million in payments from their insurers following our legal assistance.


Legal Aid partners with the Public Trustee to provide access to justice

A partnership between Legal Aid Queensland and the Public Trustee of Queensland is helping financially disadvantaged members of the community gain access to justice for civil law matters.

On 1 February 2013, Public Trustee of Queensland Peter Carne and Legal Aid Queensland chief executive officer Anthony Reilly signed a new Memorandum of Understanding setting out the framework for a business arrangement to provide legal assistance in civil law matters.

The Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme provides a service to members of the community who, without the assistance of the scheme, would not have the financial means to pursue a civil law claim. Funded by the Public Trustee of Queensland and administered by Legal Aid Queensland, the scheme provides funds at market rates for outlays required to prepare civil law claims for settlement negotiations and/or court proceedings.

“The scheme will consider providing funding for outlays associated with civil law actions where there is no grant of aid available from Legal Aid Queensland, the action can be dealt with in the Queensland legal jurisdiction and an approved firm is willing to act on a speculative basis for their professional fees,” the scheme’s coordinator, Murray Brown from Legal Aid Queensland said.

“The scheme funds cases based on their legal merits, the financial viability of the claim and the impact either approving or refusing aid will have on the applicant.”

For more information about the Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme contact Murray Brown from Legal Aid Queensland or (07) 3238 3486.


Legal Aid makes submission to Child Protection Commission of Inquiry 

Legal Aid Queensland has made a submission to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, outlining the child protection legal services we provide. Services include preventative and early intervention legal services, duty lawyer services and grants of aid for dispute resolution and legal representation.

Our submission also proposes a range of reforms to child protection court and tribunal processes. The proposed reforms are focused on the early resolution of matters and efficiently manage litigation, which could result in systemic time and resource savings.


Attorney-General recognises Legal Aid staff excellence 

We were delighted the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Jarrod Bleijie MP, could attend our Staff Reward and Recognition Awards ceremony in November 2012 to hear about all the frontline and behind the scenes work our staff do to help ensure our clients receive quality legal services and access to justice.

At the awards ceremony we recognised staff who had achieved 10 or 20 years of service to the organisation. Congratulations to Dorothy Adams who achieved an amazing 30 years of service in 2012.

We also recognised staff excellence in the following award categories:

  • Supports the early resolution of legal problems and social inclusion
    Winner: Tracey de Simone, the Family Law Coordination team, the Violence Prevention and Women’s Advocacy team, the Communication and Community Legal Education team, the Visual Files team and the Grants team – for the updated publications, precedents, best practice guidelines and grants of aid to reflect the domestic and family violence legislative changes.
  • Provides quality legal services statewide to our clients
    Winner: Regional Services and Business Partnerships team and corporate legal officer Robyn Wilkinson – for developing and successfully implementing the Preferred Supplier Strategy.
  • Progresses our vision through collaboration and policy leadership
    Winner: Mark Dixon, David Svoboda and Caroline Hunter (Criminal Law Services) – for their contribution to National Legal Aid’s law reform submission about people smugglers.
  • Builds on our capability and sustainability
    Winner: Grants Management System Modernisation Project team and Alison O’Hara (Corporate Services) – for providing a leadership role in delivering system and process improvements to our grants operations.
  • CEO’s award for outstanding achievement
    Winner: The Victims of Crime Compensation Unit, corporate legal officer Robyn Wilkinson, and the Grants team – for finalising the victims of crime case load over three-and-a-half years to meet time limits imposed by legislation.
  • Chair’s award for regional excellence
    Winner: IT Services technical support team – for developing and implementing a new statewide IT network for our regional offices to improve operational effectiveness.


Legal Aid staff contribute to legal profession 

Our staff’s expertise is well recognised by the legal profession with the following people being appointed to professional committees and boards:

  • Credit Ombudsman Service Limited Board consumer representative
    Loretta Kreet – senior lawyer, Consumer Protection Unit


  • Family Law Practitioners Association Committee member
    Clare Dart – principal lawyer, Family Law Services


  • Queensland Law Society Criminal Law Committee member
    Peter Delibaltas – Criminal Law Services director


  • Queensland Law Society Children’s Law Committee member
    David Law – principal lawyer, Youth Legal Aid


  • Queensland Law Society Access to Justice/Pro Bono Committee member
    Mary Burgess – Strategic Policy, Communication and Community Legal Education director.

A number of our staff and board members are past members of these committees and boards.

Legal needs survey reports released 

Legal Aid Queensland welcomes the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales’ reports Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal Need in Australia and Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal Need in Queensland.

The major findings of the LAW Survey confirm:

  • legal problems are widespread and often have adverse impacts on many life circumstances
  • some people, most notably disadvantaged people, are particularly vulnerable to legal problems, including substantial and multiple legal problems
  • a sizeable portion of people take no action to resolve their legal problems and consequently achieve poor outcomes
  • most people who get legal advice do not consult legal advisers and resolve their legal problems outside the formal justice system.

“The report highlights quality, low-cost public legal services, such as legal aid commissions and community legal centres, are a critical component of a holistic justice system, providing access to justice to disadvantaged people,” Legal Aid Queensland CEO Anthony Reilly said.

Updated publications 

We’ve updated some publications since our last edition of Head Note:


  • The Farm and Rural Legal Service: Legal help for farmers and rural businesses
  • Can I get legal aid? 
  • Having a grandchild in your care
  • Someone has applied for a domestic violence protection order against me. What are my legal options?
  • How do I get a domestic violence protection order?
  • Need legal help? Ask Legal Aid Queensland
  • Need help with your family dispute resolution conference agreement?
  • Bushfires and insurance claims

Legal information guides

  • Consumer and trader disputes: A guide to help you resolve a dispute with a trader
  • Does someone owe you money? A guide to help you claim a minor debt of $25,000 or less
  • How to apply for a domestic violence order


How do I get a domestic violence order?

Responding to a domestic violence order application

Wallet cards

Domestic violence wallet card

Pocket packs

What are my rights if … I want to separate from my partner?


Our legal system … Information for women

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service


These publications can be viewed online and ordered for free at our website

Publications temporarily unavailable

The following legal information guides have been temporarily removed from distribution while the content and forms are updated:

  • Do I have to keep the car? Used car contracts and your legal rights
  • Are you struggling to pay a loan?
  • Bail by mail.

Grants Handbook redevelopment 

Our redeveloped Grants Handbook is improving access to our grants policies and guidelines for preferred suppliers and the general public.

The handbook is now available in a user friendly online format and sets out procedures on how grants of legal aid are administered and guidelines are applied. It also gives legal practitioners details of the fees and payments available.

Improvements to the handbook include:

  • links to related Grants Handbook pages
  • links to external websites and publications
  • improved search functionality, including details of approval and refusal clause codes.

If you have any feedback about the redeveloped handbook please contact

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