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Preferred supplier newsletter—March 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:

  • Legal Aid Queensland operating remotely
  • Obligations under the preferred supplier agreement
  • LAQ dedicated COVID-19 announcements page
  • Expiry of service agreements – MHRT, Domestic & Family Violence Duty Lawyer, Child Protection Duty Lawyer
  • Commonwealth Family Law and Cross Examination Scheme
  • CPD events

Legal Aid Queensland operating remotely

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) is entering the phase where all staff are being encouraged to work from home. Most LAQ staff should now be remotely contactable by email, however access to LAQ systems will be limited as we continue to rollout increased access. This may mean you will experience delays and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause as we all work through this challenging period.

Obligations under the preferred supplier agreement

Under the current preferred supplier agreement and selection criteria, firms are required to have existing business premises that are accessible by the public during business hours and adequate administrative or support staffing levels to manage inquiries during business hours. Please be assured that LAQ will be flexible about business operations and staffing of our current preferred supplier business partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrangements will be considered in light of government and health advice, together with the responsibilities of employers to their staff.

We encourage you to remain up to date with the Queensland Law Society online hub dedicated to COVID-19 and the legal profession and in particular, the advice the QLS provides to you in relation to the management of your practice. In these challenging times it is essential:

  • your client’s interests are protected
  • your general obligation to supervise the work performed by staff continues, even when they are working remotely
  • you continue to deliver services as promptly and diligently as reasonably possible in the circumstances
  • your client base is able to be contacted via telephone or other communication methods so instructions can be taken and advices provided.

If your contact details change please email us so we can update our records.

LAQ dedicated COVID-19 announcements page

LAQ is committed to providing our business partners with information as it becomes available about changes to our business operations, processes and policies as a result of the changing environment associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. LAQ has set up a dedicated COVID-19 announcements page to keep you up to date. Some recent announcements you may have missed include:

  • Suspension of requirement for signed instructions
  • Suspension of face to face duty lawyer services
  • Relaxation of requirement for in custody defendants to sign LAQ application forms, provided signatures are obtained as soon as possible, such as by mail.

Expiry of service agreements – MHRT, Domestic & Family Violence Duty Lawyer, Child Protection Duty Lawyer

The service agreements for those preferred suppliers who provide legal services in the Mental Health Tribunal, Domestic and Family Violence Duty Lawyer, and Child Protection Duty Lawyer, will expire on 30 June 2020. Please note your diaries accordingly. We will be sending out new service agreements or calling for new expressions of interest, as appropriate, in the coming weeks. We are also reviewing the accreditation for these three service areas and making some minor changes. We will keep you updated as we progress through this transition to the new service agreements.

Commonwealth Family Law and Cross Examination Scheme

The Attorney-General’s Department has provided further funding for the scheme. LAQ has continued to receive banning notices from the court and on receipt sent application forms to the parties listed on the notice. Any applications received can now be processed, allowing allocation of solicitors for matters that are continuing through the courts.

CPD events

Due to the evolving pandemic, the difficult decision has been made to cancel all CPD events until 30 June 2020. This affects the following scheduled sessions:

  • Thursday 23 April — Cross cultural competency series: Identifying the language needs of your client
  • Thursday 7 May — Cross cultural competency series: Identifying the language needs of your client.

All recorded CPD events from the 2019–20 CPD year are now available on Grants Online in the Information resources menu. If you need help locating these recordings or other CPD material in Grants Online, please email us.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by these cancellations, however the health, safety and wellbeing of our community, clients and staff is paramount. The Queensland Law Society has granted practitioners an extension of time up until 30 June 2020 to comply with continuing professional development requirements under part 6 of the Queensland Law Society Administration Rule 2005.

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