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Preferred supplier newsletter—March 2021

This month:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates
  • 2018–21 preferred supplier agreements
  • Revised Family Law Case Management Standards (February 2021) now published
  • Grants update
  • Continuing professional development
  • Feedback

Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

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

2018–21 preferred supplier agreements

Due to current preferred supplier agreements expiring on 31 July 2021, applications under the 2018-21 preferred supplier agreement period closed on Monday 15 March 2021.

Applications will not be accepted after this date, unless there are exceptional circumstances as determined by Legal Aid Queensland's (LAQ) Senior Director, Legal Practice.

Applications will reopen when the 2021-24 application package is released (expected May 2021) and the new agreements will commence from 1 August 2021.

Revised Family Law Case Management Standards (February 2021) now published

A major revision of the Family Law Case Management Standards (as at February 2021) is now available on the LAQ website.

These case management standards have been prepared to clearly set out the expectations required of LAQ staff and preferred suppliers practising in the family law jurisdiction, including the areas of domestic and family violence and child protection. The standards also articulate the work expected to be undertaken when representing a client or when acting as an independent children’s lawyer or separate representative. Compliance with LAQ standards assists lawyers in achieving efficient and effective practice and is a pre-requisite to ensuring consistent service delivery for LAQ clients and is therefore an important requirement of undertaking legal aid work.

All parts of the document have been comprehensively reviewed and updated, however, a broad outline of the changes made is as follows:

  1. inclusion of information about First Nations clients
  2. outline of Human Rights Act considerations
  3. inclusion of sections about arbitration, family law duty lawyer and the family advocacy support service (FASS)
  4. a complete revision of the parts relating to child protection (acting for parties, direct representation and separate representation)
  5. updating content about domestic and family violence matters
  6. inclusion of information about briefing appropriately qualified experts.

Grants update

The Grants division is currently experiencing a period of high demand. During this time, we ask for your patience and consideration when dealing with Grants staff.

Given potential delays, it is important to lodge your client applications as soon as practicable with all supporting financial and other documents to facilitate assessment in a timely manner. Incomplete applications, with missing supporting information, slow down the assessment process and require additional follow up which can impact on pending court dates.

To ascertain the relevant financial information to supply to Legal Aid Queensland we encourage you to refer to the Limited financial verification for low risk representation matters or otherwise the means test.

In addressing the merits test please refer to the relevant part of the Grants Handbook as it provides invaluable guidance in relation to the matters to be addressed including the requirements for any supporting documentary evidence.

Continuing professional development

Preferred suppliers are reminded that recorded CPD seminars are available from Grants Online under the Information resources tab. Recently added items include:

  • Personal property securities register. Loretta Kreet, Legal Aid Queensland. CPD date: 16 March 2021. Suggested QLS CPD category: substantive law.
  • The future of casuals under the Fair Work Act: Workpac and Proposed Changes to the Legislation. Chantelle Groth and Genevieve Nuttall, Legal Aid Queensland. CPD date: 12 March 2021. Suggested QLS CPD category: substantive law.

The Queensland Law Society also has a range of free CPD resources available for members.

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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