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Request for duty lawyers to act as agents

When a practitioner from a preferred supplier firm or Legal Aid Queensland, is acting for a defendant in criminal proceedings and all that is required on a particular magistrates court mention day (call-over) is an appearance to:

  • apply for an extension of bail.
  • obtain a remand by consent or,
  • obtain a date for hearing/sentence.

The practitioner can seek that a duty lawyer appears as agent to make those applications on their behalf. Practitioners seeking assistance of a duty lawyer, to act as agent must make a request for such assistance on the “Duty Lawyer Agent Request Form”.

Completed agent request forms are to be emailed to relevant duty lawyers/firms or relevant Legal Aid Queensland office (faxes are not accepted unless email is not available to the requesting practitioner).

Duty lawyers are not to be requested to appear as agent on pleas of guilty, trials, trial review, contested bail applications or committal proceedings. Such appearances are the responsibility of the practitioner for whom the grant of legal aid has been issued. Duty lawyers are not to be requested to appear for defendants who have not been granted legal aid.

Request for duty lawyers to act as agents stating that applications for legal aid have been lodged is not sufficient to allow a duty lawyer to act as agent in accordance with the Bail Act i.e. the Bail Act only allows for a practitioner who is in contact with their client to appear on their behalf, otherwise a warrant should issue for failing to appear. Stating that an application for a grant of legal aid has been lodged is not sufficient to put a firm/practitioner on the record as acting for a defendant.

A duty lawyer who is requested to appear as agent for a defendant not in possession of a grant of legal aid should contact the requesting firm/practitioner and advise they cannot appear for the reason mentioned above. In this situation the requesting firm/practitioner is to make alternative arrangements.

Request for duty lawyers to act as agents are to be sent, using the provided Agent Request Forms, directly to the relevant duty lawyer or firm not to courts as courts may not pass on such request to duty lawyers in time.

In respect to requests for duty lawyers to act as agent in the Brisbane District or Supreme Courts, the District/Supreme Court call-over form must be used. All requests must be forwarded the day before or at the latest by 8am on the day of the appearance.

Requests can only be made in respect to clients with a current grant of legal aid. Duty lawyers can only appear on mentions/reviews.

Please note:
Duty lawyer services are not available in:

  • Brisbane Magistrates Court 33
  • 34 (traffic)
  • 38 or
  • 39 (long pleas), so Legal Aid Queensland is unable to appear as agent in these courts.

All agent request forms for Brisbane courts are to be emailed to bne.crimelistings@legalaid.qld.gov.au

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