About grants decision making
In accordance with s 69 of the Legal Aid Queensland Act 1997, the Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid Queensland delegates some decision making to the Grants division of Legal Aid Queensland. The instrument of delegation details the officer(s) who have the appropriate authority to make various decisions.
Assessing officers will make decisions:
- in accordance with the means, guidelines and merit tests relevant to the individual's particular circumstances
- objectively, rationally and impartially after considering all the relevant facts without regard to the assessing officer's personal values or observations of the parties
- transparently with the reasons for the decisions communicated to the applicant in a manner they are able to understand
- in a timely manner.
Assessing officers may consult:
- with others within the Grants division (save principal lawyers and in-house solicitors) regarding the policy, guidelines and interpretation
- with the principal lawyers or in-house solicitors to provide an opinion on legal merit of an application
- with a senior officer on the interpretation of the internal and external review protocols
- a family or conference report (if available) in order to help assess merit of a family law matter.
Personal conflict applications
If an assessing officer receives an application for aid from a person who may be a friend or associate either past or present and they consider that they have a conflict and/or there may be a perception of conflict they will contact a grants manager and advise of the potential for a conflict.
If a grants manager accepts that there may be potential for a conflict, the assessing officer will be instructed to refer the application to another assessing officer within the office (if appropriate), or alternatively an assessing officer in another office. A grants manager will advise the receiving office that the application is being referred to them for assessment and ongoing management. The assessing officer receiving the application will not be provided with details of the conflict.
Applications received from employees and employee's relatives/associates
All applications for legal aid made by an employee of the Board of Legal Aid Queensland or a relative of an employee of the Board of Legal Aid Queensland, are referred to a grants manager to determine whether the file should be made confidential. A grants manager will be responsible for the management of all confidential files.
A confidential file is one where:
- the legally aided client is an employee of the office
- the legally aided client is a relative of an employee of the office
- the legally aided client is in a domestic arrangement (de facto, boarding or renting) with an employee or relative of an employee of the office
- the other related party is an employee or relative of an employee of the office
- an employee or relative of an employee of the office is the victim in a legally aided criminal matter.
A confidential file remains a confidential file until it is archived.
Once an application for aid has been assessed, in accordance with Legal Aid Queensland's means test, merits test and guidelines an application result will be sent to the applicant and if appropriate to their solicitor.
If aid is approved the applicant and their solicitor will be advised:
- what the grant of aid is for and
- any conditions placed on the grant of aid. (see conditions of aid).
When a practitioner is issued a grant of aid which does not match the scope of the work that is required it is the responsibility of the practitioner to advise LAQ.