Allocating a solicitor
Solicitor of choice
There is no solicitor of choice in any area of law.
Legal Aid Queensland reserves the right to allocate any matter at any stage to our in-house practice or externally to our preferred suppliers.
Legal Aid Queensland's overriding consideration when allocating a matter is that the legal assistance is provided in the most effective, efficient and economical way. Legal assistance is provided at a reasonable cost to the community and on an equitable basis throughout the state.
Issues that may be taken into consideration when allocating a matter to a practitioner are:
- type of matter
- client's address
- court jurisdiction
- conflict of interest (including co-accused policy)
- anticipated costs
A decision regarding the allocation of solicitor is not a reviewable decision.
Matters which are received over the counter, through the mail, or by email (i.e. not submitted through a preferred supplier or in-house practitioner) are classified as unclaimed matters.
If a preferred supplier sends the client to Legal Aid Queensland to complete the application form, the application is deemed to be an unclaimed matter.
Unless a conflict of interest is identified, or the client has an active file(s) pertaining to a related matter(s) with a preferred supplier, all unclaimed matters will be referred to Legal Aid Queensland's in-house practice in the first instance. If a conflict of interest precludes in-house from representing the client or in-house do not have capacity to represent the client, the application may be referred to a private practitioner on the appropriate Preferred Supplier panel.
Criminal law matters
Aid for criminal law matters will be allocated to practitioners based on court location.
Family or civil law matters
With the exception of interstate clients, aid for family law or civil law matters will be allocated to practitioners based on where the client resides.
No preferential treatment is given to any preferred supplier. Legal Aid Queensland uses a computerised panel selection system to ensure fairness to all suppliers in the allocation of matters.
If a firm meets the requirements for inclusion on a preferred supplier panel they will be allocated matters appropriate to that panel using Legal Aid Queensland's panel selection system.
For all unclaimed matters the firm at the top of the panel selection list will be allocated the matter unless:
- Legal Aid Queensland's in-house practice is able to represent the client
- There is a conflict of interest that preclude the preferred supplier from representing the client
- The preferred supplier is currently acting (or has previously acted) for a co-accused in the matter
- The matter is urgent and the firm is unable to represent the client at short notice or the firm cannot be contacted
- The client has specific requirements that preclude the practitioner from representing the client, such as wheelchair access being required.
- It is more cost effective to have the client represented by another preferred supplier, for example another firm has an active file for a client to which the matter can be joined.
The preferred supplier must accept referrals from Legal Aid Queensland unless a conflict of interests exists or other commitments prevent the preferred supplier from representing the client.
Applications submitted by a preferred supplier
Where an application has been submitted through the electronic lodgement system, from a preferred supplier, as a general rule the matter will be referred back to that preferred supplier. However, Legal Aid Queensland reserves the right to allocate any matter where there are reasonable grounds for doing so.
Criminal law matters
Legal Aid Queensland has a "one client per law practice" policy under which any law practice, including Legal Aid Queensland, is able to act for only one of two or more co-accused, except as detailed in the Conflict of interest policy—Grants of aid for criminal law co-defendants.
Legal Aid Queensland's in-house practice will aim to represent one co-accused per matter for all expensive criminal law matters.
Practitioners (excluding ATSILS), seeking to represent more the one co-accused in a criminal law matter must attach a completed co-accused allocation request form when submitting the initial application for aid.
- If an allocation request form is not attached and it is identified that that submitting law practice is currently (or was previously) representing a co-accused in the matter, an approved grant of aid will be allocated to a different law practice.
- If an allocation request form is attached it will be referred to an External Review Officer for decision.
- Allocation decisions are final and not reviewable.
For the purposes of this policy, a law practice that operates from multiple locations is deemed to be one law practice and will need to seek approval from an External Review Officer to represent more than one co-accused.
The co-accused allocation request form is available in Grants Online
All requests from ATSILS or Legal Aid Queensland must attach a copy of the appropriate internal delegate approval with the application for aid.
Potentially expensive case matters
Legal Aid Queensland has the right to allocate matters identified as potentially expensive to our in-house practice in the first instance. Potentially expensive matters are identified through matter type and characteristics, with Legal Aid Queensland considering the following when determining if a matter is a potentially expensive case:
- Drug trafficking / drug importation
- Attempted murder
- Dangerous driving causing death
- Fraud over $200,000
- The matter must be dealt with in the Supreme Court
- Where the investigation involved inter-agency co-operation (AFP, CCC, interstate police)
- Where there are 10 or more co-accused
- Potentially large and complex matters where:
- matter involves large scale surveillance of the defendant by QPS (or other enforcement agency), or
- there are indications in the QP9 material that police have sought warrants for the collection of large quantities of lawfully intercepted information, or
- the station / establishment section at the top of the QP9 identifies that the section of the QPS responsible for the investigations is Taskforce Maxima or a serious drug/crime squad.
Last updated 20 November 2023
If you have a general question for Legal Aid Queensland, please use the general question form or call 1300 65 11 88, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm.