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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Ltd is a non-profit, community based Indigenous organisation who is the primary legal service provider to Indigenous Queensland in areas of criminal, civil and family law.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service was formed:

  • To assist all Indigenous people to understand the legal and judicial systems, allowing for a lack of education, speech and hearing problems.
  • For clients to have proper legal advice, representation and follow up with the families.
  • To ensure that clients are properly represented within the police, judicial and prison systems.
  • To ensure that there was an understanding of the culture, of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, confronting the courts.

All of the above are part of a negotiated agreement with the office of the Attorney General’s which has been developed under the Australian Aboriginal Legal Services Policy Guidelines.

The key areas of service delivery are:

  • criminal law representation and advice
  • family and civil law representation and advice
  • prison based advice and assistance in relation to legal and sentence management issues
  • advocacy
  • law reform and community legal education programs.

Legal Aid Queensland partners with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service in the delivery of legal assistance to eligible Indigenous people.

Applications for grants of legal assistance which are received from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services (ATSILS) are processed in the same way as all other applications.

Allocation of a solicitor

If an application for legal assistance is received from ATSILS on behalf of a client and legal assistance is approved, the grant of aid will be referred back to ATSILS unless stated otherwise.

Grant(s) of aid

Criminal law

Legal aid can be granted through ATSILS in criminal law proceedings in the District and Supreme Courts and in committals which will proceed to the Supreme Court. Legal Aid is not generally approved to ATSILS for committals which will proceed to the District Court, however if an application is received, it will be considered. The criteria for funding ATSILS can be found in the Grants Policy Manual.

Grants of aid issued to ATSILS are limited to the standard counsel’s fees and disbursements for the relevant stage of proceedings.

The disbursements payable to ATSILS include travel, accommodation and expert reports. Conduct money and nominal outlays such as the cost of phone calls, facsimiles and photocopying are not payable.

The ATSILS applicant for legal aid must satisfy Legal Aid Queensland's means, guidelines and merit test (where applicable).

If a preferred supplier applies for aid on behalf of an applicant who has been referred to them by ATSILS, solicitor's professional fees are payable unless it has been made clear to both the preferred supplier and Legal Aid Queensland that ATSILS are paying the firm's professional fees.

Representing co-accused

Prior to requesting aid to represent more than one legally aided co-accused, ATSILS undertake their own internal procedure (Grants of Aid (from LAQ) in relation to more than one co-accused). A copy of the ATSILS internal approval must be attached with the request for aid.

Where the ATSILS internal approval form is not attached this application must be allocated to a different law practice.

Code Short description
Plea of guilty
ACF District court plea of guilty (ATSILS)
ACC1 CCQ plea of guilty (ATSILS)
ACJ Supreme Court plea of guilty (ATSILS)
Contested plea
ACFA District court contested plea of guilty (ATSILS)
Subsequent day for finalisation of sentencing
ACF2 Subsequent day for finalisation of sentencing in the district court (ATSILS)
Pre-trial hearings
APTD Pre trial hearing in the district court (ATSILS)
APTS Pre trial hearing in the Supreme Court (ATSILS)
Prepare for trial

ACG

District court examine depositions, conference and negotiation (ATSILS)

ACD CCQ examine depositions, conference and negotiation (ATSILS)
AKC Supreme Court examine depositions, conference and negotiation (ATSILS)
Day one of trial
ACY District court day one of trial (ATSILS)
ACD3 CCQ day one of trial (ATSILS)
ACZ Supreme Court day one of trial (ATSILS)
Additional days of trial
ACY1 District court additional days of trial (ATSILS)
ACD2 CCQ additional days of trial (ATSILS)
ACZ1 Supreme Court additional days of trial (ATSILS)
Bail
ACV Supreme Court bail application (ATSILS)
Prison visit
APV Prison visit (ATSILS)

Family law

Legal Aid can be granted through ATSILS in family law proceedings where counsel is approved. The criteria for funding ATSILS in family law proceedings can be found in the Grants Policy Manual.

ATSILS can represent either the applicant or respondent at a Legal Aid Queensland family dispute resolution conference. A grant of legal assistance for ATSILS to represent clients at legal aid family dispute resolution conferences provides access to the dispute resolution service. This is not a grant for which counsel is available or provided and no fees are payable. 

Grants of aid issued to ATSILS are limited to the standard counsel’s fees and disbursements for the relevant stage of proceedings.

The disbursements payable to ATSILS include travel, accommodation and expert reports. Conduct money and nominal outlays such as the cost of phone calls, facsimiles and photocopying are not payable.

The ATSILS applicant for legal aid must satisfy Legal Aid Queensland's means, guidelines and merit test (where applicable).

If a preferred supplier applies for aid on behalf of an applicant who has been referred to them by ATSILS, solicitor's professional fees are payable unless it has been made clear to both the preferred supplier and Legal Aid Queensland that ATSILS are paying the firm's professional fees.

Family dispute resolution
AFFF  ATSILS Initial Conditional Conference grant of aid
AF1A Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) assist client in accessing a suitable Family Dispute Resolution agency (ATSILS)
AF1B Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) representation at a family dispute resolution conference (litigation intervention) (ATSILS)
Family law proceedings
FMC1 Counsel at interim hearing (only available for complex matters)
FMC2 Counsel to prepare for standard trial
FMP2 Additional preparation for counselwhere trial is listed for 3 or 4 days (counsel component only)
FMP3 Additional preparationfor counsel where trial is listed for 5 or 6 days (counsel component only)
FMP6 Additional preparation for counsel where trial is listed for 7 or more days
FMC3 Counsel days of trial
FMP8 Additional preparation for counsel where a trial is adjourned or part heard
FM5C Appeal to Single Judge including day one of appeal(counsel component only)
FM5D Appeal to Full Court including day one of appeal (counsel component only)
FM5E Additional days of appeal (counsel component only)
FM5G Additional preparation for appeal for counsel

Child protection

Legal aid can be granted through ATSILS in child protection proceedings where counsel is approved. The criteria for funding ATSILS in child protection proceedings can be found in the Grants Policy Manual.

Grants of aid issued to ATSILS are limited to the standard counsel’s fees and disbursements for the relevant stage of proceedings.

The disbursements payable to ATSILS include travel, accommodation and expert reports. Conduct money and nominal outlays such as the cost of phone calls, facsimiles and photocopying are not payable.

The ATSILS applicant for legal aid must satisfy Legal Aid Queensland's means, guidelines and merit test (where applicable).

If a preferred supplier applies for aid on behalf of an applicant who has been referred to them by ATSILS, solicitor's professional fees are payable unless it has been made clear to both the preferred supplier and Legal Aid Queensland that ATSILS are paying the firm's professional fees.

Child Protection
DCS6 Day one of hearing for counsel (child protection)
DC6A Additional days of hearing for counsel (child protection)
KC6 District Court represent parent/carer at an appeal (child protection)
KC7 District Court represent parent/carer at any additional days of appeal (child protection)
KC15 District Court represent child at a appeal (child protection)
KC16 District Court represent child at any additional days of appeal (child protection)

Decision makers of a higher delegation

Legal Aid is not generally approved to ATSILS for committals which will proceed to the district court, however, should an application be received, it should be referred to a grants manager for determination.

If ATSILS seek a disbursement only grant for an appeal against conviction and/or sentence from the district or Supreme Courts, the matter should be referred to a grants manager for determination.

A request by ATSILS to brief senior counsel should be referred to the Grants director for determination.

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