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START OF Criminal law duty lawyer resources
END OF Criminal law duty lawyer resources
Legal Aid Queensland’s duty lawyer services offer free, initial legal advice and representation to people charged with criminal and some traffic offences, who are on bail or in custody in Queensland.
The duty lawyer must be a lawyer with a current practising certificate and duty lawyer accreditation approved by Legal Aid Queensland. Separate accreditation is required for magistrates and childrens courts.
Duty lawyers must arrive at the court in sufficient time to view the prosecution brief of evidence (QP9), see prospective clients, take instructions and provide advice. Duty lawyers must attend to defendants in custody and in the court precincts.
There is generally a room made available for the duty lawyer to interview clients. The duty lawyer should get a copy of the court list (if available) from the prosecutor or court staff. The duty lawyer should have access to:
Duty lawyers should deal with clients the same day and not remand matters because the client or matter is difficult. Duty lawyers must complete Criminal law duty lawyer forms and record their client’s instructions and their advice to clients, and have the client sign the completed form.
Client instructions will depend on their decision in their matter, eg basic instructions taken on a guilty plea in a straight forward matter might include:
Duty lawyers for defendants can engage in case conferences with prosecution representatives to discuss issues in dispute and resolve proceedings in line with the Criminal Jurisdiction Reform Administrative Arrangement. Duty lawyers should attempt to negotiate with prosecutors, if reasonably practical and considering their service demands.
Duty lawyers can negotiate for straight forward issues such as:
Due to the limitations of duty lawyer services, different duty lawyers will often appear on separate occasions for defendants. This means complex, prolonged negotiations will be impractical.
Duty lawyers should not attempt case conferencing for matters requiring complex and lengthy negotiations. These matters should be adjourned and defendants should be advised to apply for legal aid or get private legal representation.
For more information on case conferencing, read Practice Direction 9 of 2010, issued by the Chief Magistrate.
Duty lawyers can enter guilty pleas, make bail applications or request remands for clients. Duty lawyers should not conduct trials or committals, or apply for extradition proceedings requiring more preparation in the time available. For more information, read the duty lawyer guidelines.
If it is possible to get details of clients requiring a duty lawyer, the duty lawyer should ask the prosecutor to provide a QP9 form containing an accurate summary of the offences and details of any previous convictions known to the police, so meaningful instructions can be taken from the client. Duty lawyers should check with the prosecutor the names of defendants appearing and their instructions to enter a plea or ask for a remand.
For clients in custody, duty lawyers should consider applying for bail. If applying for bail, ask the prosecutor if the application will be opposed, or if they will be requesting any bail conditions. Record bail instructions on the Criminal law duty lawyer form, or if the application is refused, attach the form to the Legal aid application form.
The duty lawyer should consider if it is appropriate to take a Legal aid application form from the client. Complete the Legal aid application form and the relevant Legal Aid Queensland checklist with enough details for a Legal Aid Queensland officer to decide the application.
Announce your appearance as duty lawyer on each case. After each appearance, record the following information on the Criminal law duty lawyer form:
After all appearances, the duty lawyer should consider if an application for bail should be lodged in the Supreme Court or if an appeal should be lodged as a result of any penalties imposed.
If the duty lawyer considers a Supreme Court bail application should be lodged, complete the Supreme Court bail checklist and Legal aid application form and return them to Legal Aid Queensland for processing.
If the duty lawyer considers an appeal should be made, the duty lawyer should:
The duty lawyer must complete any necessary administrative work within three working days of the appearance. This includes:
Note:These standards are an extract from Legal Aid Queensland’s Case Management Standards –Criminal Law – Part B – Case management standards specific to duty lawyer services.
Last updated 20 January 2016