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Preferred supplier newsletter—July 2019

This month:

  • Family violence cross examination scheme
  • Compulsory youth crime accreditation
  • Child protection stakeholder information: initial affidavit changes
  • MHRT Practice Direction 1 of 2019
  • Updated fax numbers for regional offices
  • Upcoming CPD session: Intellectual impairments — Thursday 1 August 2019

Family violence cross examination scheme

The Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross Examination of Parties Scheme is now up and running, with information about the scheme available on the LAQ website.

The scheme is being administered by the Grants Functional Support team (compliance and financial management team). If you have any questions about the scheme or how LAQ is administering it, please contact Tony Ashworth, Grants Functional Support Team manager, on 3917 0928.

Compulsory youth crime accreditation

A compulsory accreditation program is being rolled out for all practitioners undertaking file work on LAQ’s youth crime panel. If your firm is included on the youth crime panel, please ensure all practitioners undertaking youth crime work have completed the necessary accreditation to ensure your inclusion on this panel is not affected. 

Recently there has been considerable change in the Queensland youth justice system. This includes the return of restorative justice as a sentencing outcome and an increase in the identification of intellectual disabilities within the client cohort. In December 2018, Legal Aid Queensland began work on a new initiative to accredit youth lawyers who represent young people across the state. It is anticipated this process will ensure better and more just outcomes for children charged with offences.

The project is based on recommendation 25.31 of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory:

All legal practitioners appearing in a youth court be accredited as specialist youth justice lawyers after training in youth justice to include child and adolescent development, trauma, adolescent mental health, cognitive and communication deficits and Aboriginal cultural competence.

The accreditation aims to enhance the skills of lawyers providing legal services to young people and create a greater understanding of the knowledge required to work with vulnerable youth. All in-house and preferred supplier lawyers must complete the program before holding juvenile files and this requirement will be added to the criminal law case management standards. This means any preferred supplier firm included on the youth crime panel will need to ensure the solicitors undertaking the legal aid work on youth crime files have completed the necessary accreditation. Preferred supplier firms included on the youth crime panel that have not completed the accreditation by the end of the initial rollout may be removed from the youth crime panel, until the necessary accreditation is completed. Community legal centres, ATSILS and local support agencies will be encouraged to attend, however it will not be mandatory.

The training is planned to begin in the final quarter of 2019. David Law (assistant director — youth), Margaret Hornagold (senior adviser) and Dylan Roberts (project officer) will deliver one day of face-to-face training along with regional magistrates. Training locations include Brisbane, Woodridge, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Kingaroy, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Mount Isa and Cairns to complete the initial accreditation process.

Lawyers will be expected to attend the full day of training to become accredited. Content includes:

  • Working with intellectual impairments
  • Developmental psychology
  • Cultural capability
  • Trauma
  • Speech and language
  • Associated legal components

6-7 CPD points will be on offer with all compulsory areas covered.

For new practitioners who arrive after the initial rollout, the accreditation plans to hold 2-3 additional training days spaced throughout each subsequent year (ie one in Brisbane, one in Townsville from 2020 onwards). A modified online module will be developed and placed on the Learning Management System to allow new practitioners to access foundation knowledge before attending the face-to-face training occurs. This will ensure lawyers can hold provisional accreditation and, subsequently juvenile files, until face-to-face training occurs.

Queensland will be the first Australian jurisdiction to implement a youth-specific accreditation pathway. We appreciate this is new and uncharted, however we are committed to raising the standards of legal defence for some of the most vulnerable young people in the state. We look forward to working with you on this exciting new pathway.

Please send any queries about the training to Youth.Accreditation@legalaid.qld.gov.au.

Child protection stakeholder information: initial affidavit changes

Did you see the announcement about changes to the way in which affidavit material will be presented within child protection proceedings? The changes took effect 1 July 2019 and information about the changes and a Statekholder Information Sheet provided by the Director of Child Protection Litigation are available here.

MHRT Practice Direction 1 of 2019

Did you see the announcement about the MHRT practice direction about legal representatives’ appearances before the tribunal?  If you are a member of LAQ’s MHRT panel, please ensure you are familiar with this new practice direction. 

Updated fax numbers for regional offices

A number of our regional office fax numbers have been updated. Please amend your records:

  • Ipswich - 07 3817 4896
  • Mount Isa - 07 4437 4997
  • Cairns 07 4252 6896
  • Townsville - 07 4758 5396
  • Mackay - 07 4889 8696
  • Rockhampton - 07 4921 6596
  • Bundaberg - 07 4331 7495
  • Caboolture - 07 5293 2096
  • Maroochydore - 07 5451 6996
  • Toowoomba - 07 4591 8296
  • Southport - 07 5671 779

Upcoming CPD session: Intellectual impairments  — Thursday 1 August 2019

Dr Haydn Till will present a session on intellectual impairments:

Date: Thursday 1 August 2019
Time: 3pm to 4pm

More information on the presenter and the session can be viewed here.

For all upcoming CPD events, please see the For Lawyers page on the Legal Aid Queensland website.

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