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Preferred supplier newsletter—May 2021

This month:

  • Preferred supplier agreement renewals
  • Independent children’s lawyer training
  • Interpreters required by duty lawyers in DFV Specialist Magistrates Courts
  • Merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
  • Call over of matters in the Family Court of Australiap
  • Extension of the Legal Aid Property Mediation Pilot
  • Evaluation of the Family Law Property Mediation Pilot
  • Court Liaison Service reports
  • Changes to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s recording and transcription services
  • Updated legal information guides
  • Continuing professional development
  • Feedback

Preferred supplier agreement renewals

Preferred supplier agreements with all current preferred suppliers will expire on 31 July 2021. All current preferred suppliers who are wanting to continue with legal aid work after 31 July 2021 are required to submit a new application and signed agreement for consideration.

Application packages are now available from the website and are to be submitted by Monday, 28 June 2021. Applications received after this date may not be able to be assessed by LAQ before the current agreement expires, which would mean your firm would be unable to lodge new applications for aid until your new application is assessed and a new agreement is entered into.

If your firm does not want to enter into a new agreement, please contact us to advise and indicate whether you are prepared to continue with your current matters or whether you want your current matters to be reallocated. Preferred suppliers are permitted to continue to perform existing legal aid work on the same terms and conditions as set out under their current agreement, for a maximum of three months. If current matters cannot be completed within three months, please provide details of the relevant matters and an estimated completion timeframe so a decision can be made as to whether these matters should be reallocated or can remain with the firm.

Independent children’s lawyer and separate representative agreements remain current until 31 July 2022.

Independent children’s lawyer training

Independent children’s lawyer accreditation training is managed by National Legal Aid. For Queensland practitioners, this consists of three phases which must be completed before applying to join LAQ’s Independent Children’s Lawyer panel.

Phase 1 of the national training program is an online training module through the National Legal Aid ICL training centre website. If you have questions about Phase 1 training, please contact icltrainingcentre@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Phase 2 of the national training program is facilitated by individual state Legal Aid commissions and may only be undertaken after the phase 1 online component has been successfully completed. At the time of completing the phase 1 online training, you will be asked to nominate a workshop to attend for your phase 2 training. Legal Aid Queensland is holding a face-to-face phase 2 training workshop on 21 July 2021 at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. If you have questions about Phase 2 training, please contact icltrainingcentre@legalaid.nsw.gov.au. LAQ will contact all practitioners who have nominated interest in undertaking this training.

Phase 3 is Queensland specific training and managed by LAQ. This year, the training is being conducted via MS Teams on 22 July 2021, 9.30am-4pm, the day following the face-to-face training. More details of this session are available here and practitioners should register their attendance by 4pm, 15 July 2021.

If you have any questions about the phase 3 training, please contact FamilyLawServices.Training@legalaid.qld.gov.au

Interpreters required by duty lawyers in DFV Specialist Magistrates Courts

When an application is filed for a protection order and an interpreter is required for a party, it is the court’s responsibility to book the interpreter. There has been some confusion about this and some duty lawyers have booked an interpreter for the client through Translating Interpreting Service (TIS) in order to take instructions, only to have a different interpreter used during court appearances. It has been agreed between the specialist courts and LAQ that where an interpreter has been booked by the court, this booking is usually for around four hours and the booking code will be provided to the duty lawyer in order to take instructions from the client. This will mean that the same interpreter is then used in court for the client.

There may be some occasions where TIS is still required, for example where a respondent needs an interpreter and the court was unaware of this, or where the initial application did not indicate an interpreter was needed. Where TIS is used by the duty lawyer and further mentions, reviews or hearings are to be held, please advise the court of the need for an interpreter so the court can make the bookings for subsequent appearances. With PPN applications, on the first court event it is the officer who makes the first interpreter booking and subsequent bookings are made by the court.

Merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court

The date for the merger is official for 1 September 2021.

Information about changes as a result of the merger will be uploaded to the court website and the LAQ website as it becomes available. Please continue to monitor these websites.

Call over of matters in the Family Court of Australia

The Honourable Justice Baumann (as Case Management Judge of the Family Court of Australia for Queensland) advises that on 2 July 2021 his Honour will be conducting a call over of matters allocated to the Brisbane Family Court trial pool since November 2020. It is anticipated that those matters ready to proceed to trial will be listed for the second half of 2021 or early 2022. We anticipate there being between 25 and 35 matters to be called over on this occasion, with staggered listings throughout the day. Where appropriate, some matters will be conducted by telephone, and others will be heard in person. Parties will be advised by email of their requirement to appear personally or by telephone before the court.

Extension of the Legal Aid Property Mediation Pilot

LAQ has been advised that the property mediation pilot will be extended for another 18 months. This pilot has been a tremendous success in helping separated couples resolve their property division through mediation. We anticipate the pilot will continue until mid-2023.

Evaluation of the Family Law Property Mediation Pilot

The lawyer-assisted Family Law Property Mediation and Arbitration Pilot has been extended for another 18 months.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has been appointed by the government to evaluate the pilot conducted by the Legal Aid Commissions.

If you have represented a party in a property pilot family dispute resolution conference or arbitration (whether under a grant and/or privately funded), and you would like to participate in an interview with a researcher to give feedback.

If you have any questions about the evaluation, please contact the AIFS researchers.

More information about Legal Aid Queensland’s pilot can be found here.

Court Liaison Service reports

The Court Liaison Service (CLS) has raised concerns about the delays in reports being prepared. The CLS believes a contributing factor to the delay is that some legal representatives are obtaining reports for the purposes of a pre-sentence report.

Practitioners are reminded that reports are to be obtained from the Court Liaison Service only when the issues of fitness and/or soundness of mind are in question.

More information on the role of the Court Liaison Service in the Magistrates Court can be viewed here.

Changes to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s recording and transcription services

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General is changing the way recording and transcription services are delivered across Queensland Courts and Tribunals. Please see their newsletter providing an update on the transition to the new service delivery model.

If you have any questions, please contact the Recording and Transcription Transition Team at RTS-Transition@justice.qld.gov.au

Updated legal information guides

Legal Aid Queensland has now published an updated version of the How to apply for a domestic violence order guide.

Continuing professional development

Recorded CPD seminars are available from Grants Online under the Information resources tab.

Feedback

We welcome feedback and comments from clients, the community and our suppliers. As preferred suppliers you play an important role in helping us to provide quality legal services to disadvantaged Queenslanders. If you would like to provide comments or suggestions to us about our services, policies, processes or staff members, you can complete a contact form or email us at complaints@legalaid.qld.gov.au at any time.

Your feedback is important to us. We ensure a senior staff member investigates all issues thoroughly and we analyse all feedback every quarter to see what processes and services can be improved.

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