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Preferred supplier newsletter—June 2021

This month:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates
  • Preferred supplier agreement renewals
  • Merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
  • Appeals Cost Fund applications
  • Penalty Unit increase 2021–22
  • Queensland Intermediary Scheme
  • Independent children’s lawyer training
  • Recording and transcription
  • Preferred supplier coordinators
  • Continuing professional development
  • Feedback

Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

The latest information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) for preferred suppliers can be viewed here.

Preferred supplier agreement renewals

A reminder that 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 have been available from the website and were required to be submitted by Friday, 25 June 2021. If you were wanting to continue with legal aid work but have not yet submitted a completed application, please do so as soon as possible. Late applications 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.

Merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court

At a recent meeting with the Family Court and in anticipation of the merger of the courts on 1 September 2021, practitioners are advised that strict compliance with Practice Direction 2 of 2017 FCC and Rule 15.08 of the Family Court Rules will be required.

In short in interim proceedings, unless express leave is granted by the judge into whose docket the matter has been allocated, affidavit material in support of an interim application must not exceed 10 pages in length for each affidavit or contain more than 5 annexures.

It is necessary to curtail unnecessary detail in affidavits where the court cannot make findings and it is expected that practitioners advise clients of this limitation. It has been raised by the court that a costs order may be made against practitioners who breach the practice directions and rule.

Appeals Cost Fund applications

Practitioners are reminded to assist with lodging Appeal Costs Fund applications for eligible legally aided matters for the recovery of Legal Aid costs.

As you will be aware, there are three triggers for an Appeal Costs Fund application under the Appeal Costs Fund Act 1973:

  • a retrial from a mistrial (s.22(2)(c))
  • a retrial ordered after a hung jury (s.22(2)(a)
  • a retrial ordered from a successful appeal against conviction (s.22(2)b).

Please see attached process map.

If there is a mistrial (through no fault of the accused or their legal representatives) and the trial judge orders a retrial, the trial representatives should immediately request the trial judge issue an indemnity costs certificate. The trial solicitor should email a draft indemnity costs certificate (Form 8) to the trial judge's associate requesting it to be signed by the presiding trial judge.

If there is a hung jury, and the DPP decide to proceed with a retrial, the trial solicitor must request a transcript of the last day of the trial containing the recording that the jury could not reach a verdict and was discharged by the trial judge.

Upon notification of the successful appeal and retrial order the solicitor with carriage of the appeal file should obtain a copy of the appeal decision.

The materials provided to the Appeal Costs Fund Board in support of an application are:

  1. Form 9 — the application (completed by the trial lawyer)
  2. One of the following depending on the case:
    • Form 8 Indemnity Costs Certificate, (in the case of a mistrial) or a
    • transcript of the original proceedings when the jury is discharged (in the case of a hung jury) or a
    • copy of the Court of Appeal's decision (in the case of a successful appeal)
  3. Affidavit of trial lawyer confirming the relevant chronology, orders, and costs incurred
  4. Itemised list of costs incurred in the case from Grants.

If you have any questions, please contact LAQGrantsCompliance@legalaid.qld.gov.au or call our team on 3917 0996.

Further information in relation to the application process can be found here: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/court/appeal-costs-fund

Penalty Unit increase 2021–22

The Amendment Regulation amends the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 to increase the monetary value of the penalty unit value to $137.85 from 1 July 2021 under section 5A(1) of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (PSA) for the purposes of section 5(1)(a)(i), (c)(i) and (e)(i) of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.

The Amendment Regulation can be accessed via the Queensland Legislation website: https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/whole/pdf/asmade/sl-2021-0046.

Queensland Intermediary Scheme

A two-year pilot of the new Queensland Intermediary Scheme starts in Brisbane and Cairns in July. The scheme will use intermediaries to assist vulnerable witnesses give their best evidence in child sex offence matters.

Further details about the scheme are available from the Queensland Courts website.

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, 9.30 a.m. – 4 p.m., the day following the face-to-face training. More details of this session are available here and practitioners should register their attendance by 4 p.m., 15 July 2021.

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

Recording and transcription

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General is moving to a new way of delivering recording and transcription services across Queensland courts and tribunals. Information on the progress of the transition of Queensland courts and tribunals to the new recording and transcription service is included in the June edition of the DJAG Recording and Transcription Newsletter.

Preferred supplier coordinators

Erin Ames, preferred supplier coordinator, will be going on maternity leave from Friday 2 July 2021, expected to return on Monday 11 February 2022. During this time, Kylie Clark will be acting in the role of preferred supplier coordinator and will be attending to the matters usually attended to by Erin (Firms A-J). Kylie will be available by telephone on 3917 0467.

Sarah Haworth will continue to attend to matters concerning firms K-Z and can be contacted by telephone on 3917 0402.

Both Kylie and Sarah are contactable by email to psupp.coordinator@legalaid.qld.gov.au

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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