Legal aid Queensland may approve a reading fee for counsel in civil law matters provided the following tests are satisfied:
- The applicant has been provided aid for the substantive matter, and
- Where the preparation necessary for counsel to undertake the case (other than a criminal law matter) exceeds eight hours, a reading fee may be paid.
- Legal Aid Queensland considers that the case involves a brief to counsel comprises of a large volume (over 1000 pages) of material, such as witness statements, exhibits including audio/video tapes, transcripts etc.
- The applicant meets the merits test.
Reading fees for counsel are negotiated on a case by case basis. Legal Aid Queensland must be satisfied that the estimate of time required to prepare is reasonable and, if necessary, may independently examine the brief to counsel or require counsel to certify the estimate or preparation time. The reading fee must be agreed upon by Legal Aid Queensland either before the brief is delivered or immediately following delivery of the brief after counsel has had a chance to assess the amount of work involved. A reading fee will be payable once only in respect of the same case, where the same counsel is involved. No fee will be allowed for research.
All requests for reading fees for counsel are determined by a senior grants officer.
Extension of aid requests received from preferred suppliers or in-house practitioners
Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance should electronically submit an extension for aid request via the Grants Online system.
When applying for an extension of aid for a reading fee for counsel the practitioner must include:
- The number of pages to be read, and
- What material is included in the brief, and
- Counsels certification on how many hours they require to read the brief.
Grant(s) of aid
The grant of aid for counsel reading fees in a civil law matter is BREC.
Review of decisions
Requests to review a decision made in relation to counsel reading fees in a civil law matter will be determined by a Grants manager. A request for a reconsideration must be made within 28 days of the date of receipt of the decision. The decision by the Grants manager is final and conclusive. There is no appeal to the external review officer on these matters.