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How to apply for appointment to a panel

Step 1 - Register for Grants Online

You must be registered for Grants Online to obtain a username and password to access the Panels Application website. Visit the Grants Online Registration page to register. You only need to register once.

After registering, you must allow for a number of days to complete the registration process with the Legal Aid NSW Service Desk. The Service Desk is required to verify details of lawyers who register for Grants Online with the Law Society of NSW or NSW Bar Association and the Australian Business Register before processing the registration. Your details must be current with the Law Society or Bar Association in order for the Service Desk to complete the registration in a timely manner.  

If your firm has already registered and require additional usernames and passwords for staff members or you require assistance in relation to an individual registration, you can contact the Service Desk on 02 9219 5999 or at servicedesk@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.

Step 2 - Obtain a copy of the information package

Copies of each panel's information package can be viewed and downloaded from the 'Panels information packages' page.  

The information package contains:

  • the information for applicants, which contains the selection criteria and other relevant information about that panel
  • the service provision agreement, which sets out the relationship and obligations between Legal Aid NSW and the private practitioner
  • the practice standards that the practitioner agrees to comply with when representing legally assisted clients

Other relevant information you should familiarise yourself with - as they relate to the panel you are applying for:

Barristers can also view information about the Legal Aid NSW Complex Criminal Law Barrister Panel and Appellate Criminal Law Barrister Panel.  

Step 3 - Consider whether you may be suitable for appointment to a panel

You should read the panel documents and familiarise yourself with the panel selection criteria and then consider whether you may meet those criteria. 

If you are a barrister, you may only apply to those panels where legal aid allows barristers to directly represent clients. Barristers may not apply for appointment to the general civil and general family law panels, serious criminal law panel, independent children's lawyer panel and veterans law panel. These panels are only open to solicitors (who can instruct a barrister in appropriate matters subject to Legal Aid NSW policies and approval).   

Lawyers who are not in private practice or are employed by a Community Legal Centre or the Aboriginal Legal Service cannot apply for appointment to a panel.  

Step 4 - Application due dates and the selection committee schedule

Panel applications must be submitted by the specified due date so that they may be considered at the next scheduled Selection Committee meeting. Applications submitted after a due date will be deferred and considered at the next Selection Committee meeting.  

Information about which panel application forms are currently available, their due dates and selection committee scheduling can be viewed at the Panel application form availability and selection committee scheduling page.

Where an application is made by a lawyer as a result of another lawyer (currently on the panel) leaving their firm or there is a service delivery need in the region where their firm is located, the applicant lawyer may request that consideration of their application be expedited subject to the availability of the Selection Committee. Legal Aid NSW may exercise its discretion to expedite consideration of such an application. 

Step 5 - Completing and submitting your application

Applications must be submitted on-line via the Panels Application Website using your Grants Online username and password. 

Before using the Panels Application Website, you should download and read the Quick Guide for Panels Application Website (pdf 620KB)

When completing an application you should:

  • ensure that your personal and organisation's details are up to date. Instructions for updating these details can be viewed at the Grants Online FAQs page.
  • address each selection criteria and supply all other relevant information and disclosures where required to demonstrate that all the criteria are met.
  • not assume that the selection committee knows of your expertise in a particular area or what you have achieved in the past.
  • save your work regularly using the "Save as draft" button located at the bottom of the online form. This will ensure that your responses are saved in our database and will minimise the loss of information on your application form in the event of a service interruption.   
  • if completing one of the longer application forms, save the first draft of your responses on a word processing program (e.g. MS Word). After completing the draft you can copy and paste the criteria responses directly into your application.
  • once the application is completed, click on the "Submit" button. You will receive a confirmation message by e-mail. Please note that once your application is submitted it can not be modified.

Panel enquiries

If you have any enquiries about a panel or the application process, or using the Application website, please contact the Professional Practices Branch by e-mail at panels@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or on 02 9219 5662.