- Annual Report
- Youth practitioner certification training
- Remote conferencing, confidentiality and Practice Direction 1 of 2020
- MHRT Service Order Panel Expressions of Interest
- Legal aid application form changes
- Expensive criminal law cases — application and claim reminders
- Your Story Disability Legal Support
- Ongoing Grants Online Maintenance
- Continuing Professional Development
- Announcements you may have missed
Legal Aid Queensland’s Annual Report 2019-20 is now available. It highlights LAQ’s achievements and challenges over the past year and includes our financial statements.
LAQ’s service delivery model allocates a significant proportion of legally aided matters to our preferred supplier business partners and last financial year our expenditure to private law firms was $68,408,000. The Grants division assessed 44,718 new applications for legal aid, approved 34,755 applications, assessed and issued 75,809 extensions, and paid 75,698 accounts.
Youth practitioner certification training
Preferred suppliers undertaking work on youth files or sessions as a Childrens Court duty lawyer (criminal law) should be aware of the mandatory youth practitioner certification training. In person training began in October 2019 and online learning modules have been uploaded to Grants Online. The transition period was scheduled to end on 30 June 2020 but has been extended until 31 December 2020. This means that any preferred supplier undertaking work on youth files or sessions as a Childrens Court duty lawyer (criminal law) now have until 31 December 2020 to attend a face-to-face or webinar certification training session. After this date any practitioners that have not completed the training will not be allocated any further youth crime work, file work or Childrens Court duty lawyer, until they have completed the next available face-to-face or webinar certification training.
With COVID restrictions now easing, LAQ is seeking to run additional training sessions before the end of the year for those who missed the last training or who are new to the jurisdiction. To register your interest in the youth practitioner certification training please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Remote conferencing, confidentiality and Practice Direction 1 of 2020
Practitioners appearing regularly in the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) would be aware that the tribunal began a remote conferencing model for all hearings in March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (MHRT Practice Direction Number 1 of 2020). This is still ongoing, and likely to continue for the foreseeable future given the need to ensure the continuing health and safety of patients and staff in hospitals and health facilities.
Many practitioners are now appearing remotely via the Collaboration Meeting Rooms (CMR) platform, as permitted by the Practice Direction. A number of practitioners have reported problems with linking in and / or dropping out during the course of hearings.
The President of the MHRT, Annette McMullan, has advised us that there is a significant reduction in the occurrence of these problems when the number of participants linking in is reduced. The President encouraged practitioners to attend hearings remotely from a health service or hospital conference room, in the company of the patient and his / her treating team, if it is practical and safe to do so. This will of course depend on the availability of rooms which are compliant with the relevant social distancing requirements and practitioners meeting requirements for vaccination of preventable diseases directives.
Practitioners who are linking in from their homes or workplaces should undertake the relevant checks and tests to ensure their internet connection is strong enough. This process has already taken place among tribunal members who link in remotely. Ensuring all participants in a hearing have a sufficiently strong connection will help to minimise the technical issues.
Practitioners appearing remotely should ensure they are seated in a space that is closed off from other workers or members of the household (as the case may be) in the interests of protecting the confidentiality of the proceedings.
Other practice issues are currently being reviewed, and practitioners will be advised in due course.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to providing MHRT services. If you have any queries, please contact us at MHRT.Panel@legalaid.qld.gov.au
MHRT Service Order Panel Expressions of Interest
We are seeking expressions of interest from community legal centres and preferred suppliers to join the MHRT panel in all regions, from 1 December 2020 until 30 June 2023.
Please see the following documents:
- Expression of Interest
- Application Cover Sheet
- Accreditation Requirements
If you want to apply for the service, please complete the application coversheet. Your application must include:
- court location and details of availability
- completed application cover sheet
- details of legal practitioners who would be providing the service and their experience and competence in MHRT law.
Any practitioner wanting to provide the service must hold MHRT accreditation. Please see the attached MHRT Accreditation Requirements.
Please submit all expressions of interest to MHRT.Panel@legalaid.qld.gov.au by close of business Monday 9 November 2020.
Legal aid application form changes
Grants is undertaking a project to improve the paper legal aid application form. The form will be updated to:
- improve client satisfaction with the application for aid process by:
- better managing their expectations about the availability of legal aid
- encouraging legal advice to be sought before submitting an application
- providing a more assessible, user-friendly application form
- improve efficiencies and processing times by:
- gathering more of the required information in the first instance
- incorporating standard authorities to disclose information, access to Centrelink and QPS data.
- incorporate the collection of data required under the National Legal Assistance Partnership.
If you would like to provide feedback about the draft application form via the Industry Reference Group, please express your interest by emailing LAQ.Feedback@legalaid.qld.gov.au
Expensive criminal law cases — application and claim reminders
When applying for an expensive criminal law matter, please remember to fully complete the expensive case request form and use the most recent version on Grants Online – elodgement tab – expensive cases. For your matter to be considered please provide all supporting verification documentation. Missing information (including means test verification information) will result in us needing to follow up for further information and increases the time it takes to provide an outcome for your request. Where possible please ensure all requests are submitted with sufficient time to support appropriate review and assessment.
When claiming for expensive case matters, please remember to fully complete the expensive case preparation details claim form (Grants Online – elodgement tab – expensive cases). The expensive case preparation covers the whole case and existing invoices for substantive grants are cancelled when the expensive case grant is issued. Please ensure all claims being made relate to work completed after the date aid is effective for the substantive grant of aid. Any claims for work completed before the approval date for the substantive grant of aid will not be accepted.
Your Story Disability Legal Support
On 16 September Your Story Disability Legal Support celebrated its first birthday. Your Story Disability Legal Support is a free national legal service giving independent information and advice to people who want to participant in the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The service now has its our own website and trauma-informed and culturally-safe staff located in each state and territory giving legal advice and getting the word out about how people with disability can safely share their story with the Disability Royal Commission.
Find out more about Your Story Disability Legal Support and view a snapshot of the first year achievements.
Ongoing Grants Online Maintenance
Please be aware that every Tuesday night from 6pm – 10pm LAQ IT Services conducts system maintenance. During this time Grants Online may not be available for use.
Continuing Professional Development
LAQ is working to deliver online CPD training opportunities to preferred suppliers and CLCs and emails will be sent when training is available. Please be aware there are limited spaces for training delivered via Microsoft Teams and this training is only available for LAQ staff, current preferred suppliers and CLC staff.
Announcements you may have missed
Amica – new online tool helping Queenslanders resolve separation disputes
We welcome feedback and comments from clients, 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 email@example.com at any time.
Your feedback is important to us. We ensure a senior staff member investigates all issues thoroughly and analyse all feedback every quarter to see what processes and services can be improved.