Criminal law duty lawyers and the representation of children

Dear Practitioners

Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) recently changed its policy in relation to duty lawyer representation in youth justice (criminal law) childrens court matters.

Where possible, LAQ in-house practitioners will provide specialist duty lawyer services for childrens court call-overs. However, where this is not possible, LAQ will engage preferred supplier law firms and other practitioners who are appropriately accredited and certified to deliver services to young people in youth justice matters.

If, however, there is a child requiring duty lawyer assistance but no accredited childrens court duty lawyer available, an exception is made for a magistrates court (adults) duty lawyer to provide the service to children, whether in custody or otherwise, so that no child is left without legal assistance and/or representation at court. Any magistrates court duty lawyer providing this service to children will be able to submit a duty lawyer session report to claim payment for the service to children.

This exception does not detract from LAQ’s requirement for all existing and new duty lawyers to complete the compulsory youth practitioner certification training conducted by LAQ for accreditation as a childrens court duty lawyer. Register for the next scheduled youth practitioner certification training will be on Friday, 14 October 2022. LAQ looks forward to continuing to work with you in providing this important service to children, and thank you for your ongoing commitment to our clients.