For an existing grant of legal assistance to be transferred to another practitioner the following tests are applied:
- Legal Aid Queensland considers that there are exceptional circumstances as outlined in the transfer of solicitor policy, and
- the client continues to be eligible for a grant of assistance in line with Legal Aid Queensland's means, merits and guideline tests.
Irretrievable breakdown in the relationship
If a legally aided person requests a transfer of solicitor as they have lost confidence a transfer of solicitor will not be approved. Legal Aid Queensland refers all clients back to their practitioner to resolve any disagreements or concerns in first instance.
If legal aid clients are unable to resolve their dispute with the practitioner, Legal Aid Queensland may approve a transfer of solicitor only if it is determined that there is an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the client and the practitioner.
Appropriateness of spending limited public funds test
Under this policy, if there is no conflict of interest or irretrievable breakdown in the client/practitioner relationship the legal aid client will need to satisfy that it is an appropriate expenditure of limited legal aid resources to transfer the grant of aid to another solicitor.
Instances where it would be appropriate to transfer a practitioner in a criminal law matter under the appropriateness of spending limited public funds test are as follows:
- Where a client's matter has been transferred from one region to another and it would be more cost effective for Legal Aid Queensland to engage a local solicitor rather than incur travel expenses for the practitioner initially engaged.
- Where a client has multiple outstanding criminal law charges and aid has been granted to different practitioners, it may be considered more cost effective and in the clients best interest to have all matters dealt with by one practitioner.
Conflict of interest
Grant(s) of aid
The following grants of aid may be issued if a transfer of solicitor is approved:
- GTR5 - child protection matters
- GTR2 - civil law matters
- FTR - family law matters
- VTR - veterans matters
- DTR - any other defence force appeal matters
- TINH - in-house matters
Review of decisions
There is no right of appeal to the external review officer against a decision to refuse to transfer a grant of aid to a new solicitor. The matter can be referred to a senior grants officer for reconsideration.