For legal aid to be granted for counsel to be instructed in a summary criminal law matter the following tests must be satisfied:
- the applicant has been provided aid for the substantive matter, and
- the request meets the merits test, and
- there is sufficient complexity which warrants representation by counsel.
Applications for aid for counsel in a summary plea will be determined by the assistant director grants.
Extension of aid requests received from preferred suppliers or in-house practitioners
If a practitioner requires aid for counsel in a summary matter the practitioner must lodge an extension of aid request through the Grants Online system and advise how the matter meets the merits test with particular reference made to "appropriateness of spending limited public legal aid funds" test, and the "prudent self-funding litigant" test.
When determining whether an applicant meets the merits test, Legal Aid Queensland will consider whether aid for counsel is warranted with regards to the "appropriateness of spending limited public legal aid funds" test, and the "prudent self-funding litigant" test.
There is sufficient complexity which requires the expertise of counsel
Legal Aid Queensland considers that counsel may be warranted if there is sufficient complexity which requires the expertise of counsel. In making this determination, Legal Aid Queensland take into account the gravity of the matter and the possible impact the judgment would have on the client.
Legal Aid Queensland considers a matter to be sufficiently complex when:
- The proper conduct of the case requires substantial cross-examination of numerous witnesses.
- There are numerous co-accused represented by different solicitors.
- There are children or special witnesses to be cross-examined.
- The admissibility of evidence is contested or matters of law will require significant and detailed legal argument.
- Expert evidence is relied upon to support the prosecution or defence case and significant examination or cross-examination of witnesses will be required.
Grant(s) of aid
The grant of aid for a summary trial with counsel is MG4
Extension(s) of aid
The grant of aid for additional days of summary trial for solicitor and counsel is a MG7
Review of decisions
A decision to refuse legal aid for this type of matter may be appealed to the external review officer (refer to review of decisions).