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START OF Policies and procedures
START OF Case management and practice management standards
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END OF Policies and procedures
Print version: Case management standards—employment law(PDF, 749KB)(PDF, 749KB)
These Civil law case management standards — employment law are an excerpt of the Civil law case management standards. They have been prepared to assist Legal Aid Queensland staff and preferred suppliers who practise in employment law.
They represent the minimum work necessary to be undertaken in representing the client. The objective of these standards is to assist officers in achieving an efficient and effective practice.
Compliance with the standards is a prerequisite to ensuring consistency of service delivery to clients, and is therefore an important requirement of undertaking legal aid work.
These case management standards should be read in conjunction with and not in substitution of the rules and practice directions of any courts which may issue from time to time.
The first contact with a client who subsequently obtains a grant of aid for a civil law matter is often via a legal advice interview. The lawyer is to explain the legal process and procedure relating to the client’s matter. Some client information will be obtained at this interview but there is generally insufficient time to obtain detailed instructions.
The approving authority of a grant of aid is Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ). Generally, the date aid is effective is the date the application is received by LAQ. A grant of aid must exist before any work can be done on the file. The lawyer should check the approval letter to determine the nature and appropriateness of the grant of aid. Where the grant of aid is subject to an initial contribution, the lawyer must not commence work until appropriate arrangements for the payment of the contribution have been made with the client.
LAQ will pay the lawyer in accordance with LAQ’s set schedule of fees less the initial contribution from the client (where applicable). The schedule of fees includes the scales of fees, rules for payment of accounts and claiming guidelines provided by LAQ. The lawyer is to explain to the client the policy in relation to retrospective contributions and ensure the client signs and returns the Payment of Costs form prior to commencing work on the file.
Following approval for a grant of aid, an initial letter enclosing a Client Information Sheet — Annexure A — should be sent to the client by the lawyer. The client must be informed of their obligations and rights in relation to costs payable for work to be done on behalf of the client and any rights to recovery of costs from another party to proceedings.
The lawyer must communicate regularly with the client. The lawyer should copy and forward to the client relevant substantive correspondence sent or received on behalf of the client.
The lawyer must be aware of and comply with the Best practice guidelines for lawyers working with people who have experienced domestic violence. The guidelines are attached as Annexure B.
The lawyer must be aware of and comply with the Best practice guidelines for lawyers providing legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. The guidelines are attached as Annexure F.
The lawyer must be aware of and comply with the Guidelines for working with interpreters. The guidelines are attached as Annexure G.
In-house lawyers, when briefing counsel, must comply with the In-house lawyers briefing counsel policy, which can be found on the LAQ intranet (LAQ staff access only). When applicable, briefs to counsel must contain the following:
The client is to be advised of the outcome of the matter and provided with any relevant documentation before a file is closed. A final letter enclosing a sealed copy of any orders is to be forwarded to the client. If appropriate, the letter should also contain relevant advices with respect to time limitations (including appeal time limits), the consequences of breaches of the orders and any follow-up matters.
The lawyer should notify LAQ of the outcome of a file when submitting their final account for payment and finalising the file.
The lawyer must ensure the initial or final contribution has been paid or arrangements entered into for the payment of the final contribution.
The lawyer should consider the appropriateness of any orders which have been made and the potential merit for appeal or judicial review. If appropriate the matter should be discussed with the client including:
These case management standards specific to employment law must be read in conjunction with Part A — General.
At the initial client interview, the lawyer should follow these steps:
Determine whether an interpreter is needed and use interpreters in accordance with the Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) Language Services Policy.
Advise the client about other relevant and available legal remedies, eg personal injury, work cover, workplace health and safety complaints, and make appropriate referrals for the client to take action.
The lawyer should be:
The lawyer must obtain signed statements from all relevant witnesses as required and relevant to each stage of the application.
When lodging an application to the Fair Work Commission, the application should include details of the sections of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) which have been breached and all relevant supporting statements and material.
If an application has already been lodged with the Fair Work Commission, the lawyer must lodge the relevant Notice of Representative Commencing To Act. If an application has already been lodged with the Fair Work Commission, the lawyer should consider whether the client has adequately presented their case and whether the application needs to be amended to clarify relevant issues, including whether the appropriate respondents have been named and whether the sections breached have been identified.
The lawyer must follow these steps for a conciliation conference:
Whether the client or the lawyer addresses the issues (outlined at 3(b)) is a matter that will depend upon the professional judgment of the lawyer and the commissioner’s directions. The lawyer should supply details omitted by the client where required.
If the parties reach an agreement, the lawyer must write a letter to the client confirming the agreement and to the other party (where appropriate) and enclose a typed copy of the agreement for signature (where relevant). In a General Protections Application, if no agreement is reached, advise the client in writing of time limits for referring an application for arbitration in the Fair Work Commission, or for applying to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Federal Court of Australia (subsequent to a certificate being issued for general protections matters), regardless of whether the client will be legally aided for those proceedings.
Before the hearing, the lawyer may seek counsel’s advice about the claim’s prospects of success. The lawyer must have a relevant grant of legal aid. When preparing for a hearing the lawyer should:
In a General Protections Application the lawyer should:
In a General Protections Application the lawyer should follow these steps:
The lawyer should retain and brief counsel as soon as practicable. The brief to counsel must include all relevant documentation. Instructions to counsel should set out the hearing dates, the basic premise of the case and list the witnesses to be called, whether points of claim need to be settled, the date for filing, and fees payable in line with LAQ’s Scale of Fees.
The lawyer should consider if it is appropriate to hold conferences with counsel. If appropriate arrange them as early as practicable with counsel and the client.
The lawyer should ensure all witnesses are available to give evidence and arrange their attendance times to minimise waiting time. The lawyer should take accurate records of the proceedings including witness names, the substance of oral evidence given and hearing times.
If no ruling has been made at the conclusion of the hearing, write to the client advising them of the expected judgment date if known. After a ruling has been made, write to the client informing them of the outcome and provide sealed copies of orders.
Ensure all accounts are finalised in a timely manner.
After final judgment has been delivered by the court or commission, write to the client informing them of the orders made and reasons for judgment, supplying copies of both sets of documents if they are available. Consider whether an appeal is appropriate and advise the client on the merits of an appeal and relevant time limits.
Following a resolution by agreement or by judgment, the lawyer must advise the client of enforcement options, prospects of success and merits of any enforcement action.
Where appropriate the lawyer should help the client to apply for legal aid to enforce the agreement/judgment taking into account the respondent’s assets and any enforcement action’s prospects of success.
At each stage of the application the lawyer must advise the client of their claim’s merits and prospects of success and comply with all relevant LAQ policies outlined in the Grants Policy Manual.
At each stage of the application the lawyer must help the client to apply for all relevant grants of aid where appropriate.
The lawyer must comply with relevant legislative requirements regarding legal costs. The lawyer must explain to the client the client’s liability for costs in the various jurisdictions. The lawyer must explain to the client, and ensure they comply with, LAQ’s grants policies regarding payment of costs, such as initial contributions and retrospective contributions, and their obligation to pay costs under any costs agreement.
Coordinator, Preferred Supplier Strategy
Legal Aid Queensland
GPO Box 2449 Brisbane QLD 4001
Phone: 07 3247 0380
Fax: 07 3238 3340