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Preferred supplier newsletter—June 2019

This month:

  • Grants Online shut down  
  • Independent Children’s Lawyer and Separate Representative Agreement expires soon
  • Complex criminal case barrister panel
  • Practice Management Standards — client management
  • Bail support program for men
  • EOI: Separate representative training and masterclass & child protection masterclass
  • Preferred supplier strategy coordinator — leave arrangements
  • Upcoming CPD event

Grants Online shut down

Grants Online will be shut down at 5:30pm on Sunday 30 June 2019 and will be up again at 9am on Monday 1 July 2019 as part of the financial year end process.

Independent Children’s Lawyer and Separate Representative Agreement expires soon

The current Independent Children’s Lawyer and Separate Representative Agreement expires on 31 July 2019 and existing independent children’s lawyers and separate representatives who want to remain on the panel will need to reapply for inclusion on the new agreement starting 1 August 2019 and expiring 31 July 2022.

Application packages are now available for existing panel members and new applicants. Existing panel members must submit their application by Friday, 12 July 2019 to allow for applications to be assessed and new agreements to be in place for 1 August 2019.

New applicants seeking inclusion on the Independent children’s lawyer and separate representative panel can submit their application at any time. New applicants will be subject to an interview by the Selection and Suitability Committee which usually convenes twice a year. Dates for interviews have not yet been set. 

Complex criminal case barrister panel

As you would be aware, in June 2016, the Legal Aid Queensland Board approved establishing a single panel of barristers for complex criminal case matters (the panel) as set out in the complex criminal case barrister policy (the policy) for use by preferred supplier law firms and in-house lawyers.

For the panel’s purpose, a complex criminal case matter is a:

  • committal
  • trial
  • sentence
  • Mental Health Court hearing
  • appeal or
  • matter under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003where an expensive case grant of legal aid has been sought or issued or is likely to be sought or issued.

From 2 July 2018, in-house lawyers and preferred suppliers have been required to brief barristers on the panel for complex criminal case matters except in exceptional cases and with the approval of the chief executive officer.

The names of barristers approved to the complex criminal case barrister panel can be found through the find a barrister feature of the Legal Aid Queensland website.  Under the preferred supplier agreement, where Legal Aid Queensland has implemented an approved list of counsel, the preferred supplier must only brief counsel who is included on that list, unless Legal Aid Queensland otherwise approves. Please ensure complex criminal case matters are only briefed to counsel approved on this list. 

The selection criteria and application documents for barristers seeking inclusion on the panel is set out on the Legal Aid Queensland website. Alternatively, for more information you can email barristerpanel@legalaid.qld.gov.au  

Practice Management Standards — client management

Inclusion on the preferred supplier panel requires firms to comply with LAQ’s practice and case management standards. These standards have been prepared to help Legal Aid Queensland staff and preferred suppliers and represent the minimum work needed to be undertaken in representing the client. The objective of these standards is to help officers in achieving an efficient and effective practice.

One of the standards in relation to client management requires preferred suppliers to have arrangements to ensure clients are assisted in applying for a grant of aid or an extension of aid. An explanation of the terms of the grant of aid should include the application process, cost contribution if levied and the procedure to have the decision reviewed.

If a client instructs they want their solicitor to make an application or an extension of aid even though the solicitors advice is that it will be refused, the solicitor should act on the client’s instructions and make the request for aid and if appropriate, include the details of their professional opinion about the prospects of success. If the grants officer determines the request should be refused, they will advise the client of the decision and their review rights.

If a client subsequently decides to enter into a private costs agreement with the firm, the preferred supplier must notify Legal Aid Queensland and, with the consent of the legally-aided client, obtain termination of the relevant grant of legal assistance as set out in clause 4.7 of the preferred supplier agreement. The preferred supplier should keep records of their advice provided to the client and the client’s instructions. 

Bail support program for men

Caxton Legal Centre is operating a bail service for men on remand at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, Brisbane Correctional Centre and Woodford Correctional Centre. The service may be beneficial for duty lawyer clients who may have merit in a bail application but have not applied for bail or have been refused bail because of insufficient supporting material. 

For more information about the service, see the flyer or contact Caxton Legal Centre.

EOI: Separate representative training and masterclass & child protection masterclass

Legal Aid Queensland is calling for expressions of interest to attend the following training:

Wednesday, 25 September — Separate representative training
For those seeking to join the Separate representative panel. Attendees will also need to view a selection of webinars in the lead up to this first day of training.

Thursday, 26 September — Separate representative masterclass
For current panel members and those seeking to join the Separate representative panel.

Friday, 27 September — Child protection masterclass
For current panel members and those seeking to join the Separate representative panel.

Expressions of interest now close Friday, 12 July 2019.

See the attached flyer for eligibility and registration details. To register your interest, please select “register now” and your expression of interest will be sent to FamilyLawServices.Training@legalaid.qld.gov.au

Preferred supplier strategy coordinator — leave arrangements

Preferred supplier strategy coordinator Erin Ames will start  maternity leave on Friday, 19 July 2019 and will return Monday, 2 March 2020. Sarah Haworth will act in the position during Erin’s leave and can be contacted on (07) 3917 0402 or  psupp.coordinator@legalaid.qld.gov.au

Upcoming CPD events:

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

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