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Preferred supplier newsletter—January 2020

Welcome to Legal Aid Queensland’s Preferred supplier newsletter, which will provide you with news and policy updates, upcoming CPD events and other relevant information. We will try to limit the adhoc emails that have been sent previously and hope that you find the monthly newsletter useful.

If there are any topics you would like us to cover please contact us at psupp.coordinator@legalaid.qld.gov.au and we will try to include it in the next newsletter.

This month:

  • Obtaining money from legally aided clients
  • Youth practitioner certification training
  • Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme
  • Human Rights Act 2019
  • Accessing recorded CPD sessions and supporting material
  • CPD events
  • “How to submit a Legal Aid Queensland application via Grants Online” video now available

Obtaining money from legally aided clients

All firms should be aware of their obligations under the preferred supplier agreement in relation to not seeking payment from legally aided clients. These obligations are addressed in  clauses  4.6, 4.7, 4.8 and 4.9 of the Preferred Supplier Agreement. We  encourage all firms to review these provisions and to ensure that all staff are aware of these provisions and that your office has in place internal procedures to address the situation where a legally aided client wishes to enter a private fee-paying arrangement with your office. 

How does this work in practice?

As an example, where a client has a grant of aid for their substantive criminal law matter and seeks to engage your firm on a private basis for the bail application. You should:

  • advise the client of the availability of funding for a bail application and retain proof of the advice on your file,
  • obtain written instructions from the client if they do not wish to make an application for a grant of aid for a bail application or the client has made an application for legal aid for a bail application and the application has been refused, and
  • advise LAQ in writing if the client has provided private funds to your office for a bail application.

Once in receipt of this information, the grants team will make an assessment in relation to the client’s ongoing financial eligibility, which may include a termination of the substantive grant of aid until such time as the private funds have been exhausted.  

We’d like to remind firms these clauses (4.6, 4.7, 4.8 and 4.9) in the preferred supplier agreement are reflective of requirements set out in the Legal Aid Queensland Act. 

Under section 40(4) of the Legal Aid Queensland Act 1997, if Legal Aid gives a person legal assistance under an agreement with a Legal Aid service provider, the service provider may receive only an amount decided by Legal Aid as the fee for the service.  A maximum penalty of 100 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment applies.

It is important firms realise the importance of complying with the preferred supplier agreement and in turn, not committing an offence under the Legal Aid Queensland Act. 

LAQ will continue to audit preferred supplier law firms as part of our ongoing commitment to financial accountability and maintaining effective systems of internal audit controls and compliances to protect against financial loss.  These audit procedures may include telephoning legally aided clients to see if they have provided any payment to a legally aided preferred supplier. 

Youth practitioner certification training

Please see below for dates and details of youth practitioner certification training in 2020. Both sessions will be available via webinar if you are not able to attend in person. These are the only dates scheduled for 2020 at this stage so please prioritise attending if you wish to complete the certification.

Please follow the links to register.

Brisbane
Tuesday 4 February 2020
Brisbane Supreme Court Library (40 attendees plus webinar attendees)
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brisbane-youth-certification-registration-88427347577

Brisbane
Wednesday 18 March 2020
Brisbane Supreme Court Library (40 attendees plus webinar attendees)
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brisbane-youth-certification-registration-88427632429

If you have any questions please call Dylan Roberts on (07) 3917 0335 or email: youth.certification@legalaid.qld.gov.au.

Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme 

In December’s newsletter there was a notice about the Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme that advised that Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) had committed the 2019–20 budget allocation under the scheme and that we were not in a position to allocate legal practitioners under the scheme at that time. Following National Legal Aid (NLA), and others, making urgent submissions to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), NLA has received written confirmation from the AGD that the Commonwealth Government has announced funding for the scheme until the end of 2019–20 as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measures.

In light of this confirmation of further funding, LAQ will re-commence allocation of legal practitioners under the scheme to the extent of the additional funding. We will also take expressions of interest from preferred supplier firms to be on a panel to support the scheme.

Grants teams

When contacting Grants by email, please use the team email addresses. This allows all of the staff in the team to access your email and allows Grants to monitor outstanding items. 

Team email addresses are:

Human Rights Act 2019 

The Human Rights Act 2019 came into full operation on 1 January 2020. The main object of the Act is to embed respect for human rights in the culture of the public sector, requiring public entities to undertake public functions in a principled way, placing individuals at the centre of decision-making and service delivery. The Act protects 23 human rights recognised in international covenants including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

If a person believes a public entity has breached their human rights, they may make a complaint to the entity and if the person is not satisfied with the response, they may complain to the Queensland Human Rights Commission (formerly the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland). If the commissioner accepts the complaint, the commissioner may try to resolve it by way of conciliation conference.  If the complaint is not resolved, the commissioner must prepare a report which may include recommended action for the entity. The commissioner cannot award damages or compensation. 

While the Act does not create a stand-alone cause of action in the courts for breach of a human right, an additional ground of unlawfulness under the Act may be “piggybacked” on another claim and a person may seek the remedy available under the other claim on the ground of unlawfulness, even if not successful in obtaining the remedy on the basis of the other claim. 

While there is no grant of legal aid for human rights complaints to the Human Rights Commission, there is the potential for human rights to impact other areas of law for which grants of aid are available, particularly anti-discrimination claims.  

Preferred suppliers are encouraged to become familiar with the Act and consider possible application in advising and representing legal aid clients.  Additional information is available on the Queensland Human Rights Commission’s webpage.

Accessing recorded CPD sessions and supporting material

Most CPD events are recorded and published in the Grants Online system within 1 week following the event. Follow these steps to access these recordings:

  1. Log into Grants online via this link
  2. From the menu, select “Information Resources” and then “Continuing Professional Development
  3. A new window will open. Select “Continuing Professional Development resources
  4. Click “CPD in the last 12 months” or click “Search in catalogue” to find older event materials and recordings.

If you need help accessing these videos, please email psupp.coordinator@legalaid.qld.gov.au.

CPD events

Sentencing principles — 6 February 2020

Date: Thursday 6 February 2020

Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
CPD point allocation: 1 point, substantive law, self-assessed

Register here and see full event details.

This session is being recorded and will be available in Grants Online 1 week following the presentation.

Confidentiality: Its limits and exceptions — 10 February 2020

Date: Monday 10 February 2020

Time: 1:00pm to 2:00pm
CPD point allocation: 1 point, practical legal ethics, self-assessed

Register here and see full event details.

This session is being recorded and will be available in Grants Online 1 week following the presentation.

Cross cultural competency series: (2nd) Practical scenarios and framing legal advice — 18 February 2020

Date: Tuesday 18 February 2020

Time: 2:00pm to 4:00pm

CPD point allocation: 2 points, professional skills, self-assessed

Register here and see full event details.   

This session is being recorded and will be available in Grants Online 1 week following the presentation.

To Act or not to Act: Managing conflict — 24 March 2020

Date: Tuesday 24 March 2020

Time: 1:00pm to 2:00pm

CPD point allocation: 1 point, practical legal ethics, self-assessed

Register here and see full event details.

This session is being recorded and will be available in Grants Online 1 week following the presentation.

“How to submit a Legal Aid Queensland application via Grants Online” video now available

training video is now available in Grants Online demonstrating how to submit an application through Grants Online. This video is available in the Policies and Standards section and complements the e-lodgement user manual. 

 

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