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Panels information

Legal Aid NSW is constantly striving to improve legal aid services provided to the community. A significant part of these services is the partnership between Legal Aid NSW and private lawyers.

Requirement to be appointed to a panel

Legal Aid NSW requires private lawyers (and in some cases barristers who directly represent clients) to be appointed to a panel in order to undertake legal aid work.  

Lawyers are appointed to a panel for a period of up to five years. Panel appointments apply to individuals and not to firms.

Lawyers recommended for appointment to a panel are required to enter into a service provision agreement (pdf 173KB) with Legal Aid NSW. Lawyers are expected to acknowledge their obligation to provide quality representation to their clients, to comply with Legal Aid NSW policies, guidelines and relevant practice standards and to properly discharge their responsibility to the court.

Information brochure for panel lawyers

The Information for Panel Lawyers brochure includes information about Legal Aid NSW policies and guidelines that panel lawyers must be familiar with, panel lawyer audits and grants of legal aid.

Legal aid assignments

Appointment to a panel does not confer an entitlement to work.

Grants are allocated in accordance with Legal Aid NSW's Grants Allocation Guidelines [as amended].

Grants of legal aid will be assigned only to lawyers who have been appointed to a panel unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Current panels

The following panels are currently in operation:

General Panels

  • General Civil Law
  • General Criminal Law
  • General Family Law

Specialist Panels

  • Children's Criminal Law
  • Care & Protection 
  • Veterans Law
  • Independent Children's Lawyer - Family Court
  • Serious Criminal Law
  • Mental Health Advocacy  
  • Domestic Violence
  • Specialist Barrister Panel (Complex Criminal Law)
  • Specialist Barrister Panel (Criminal Appellate Matters)

The panel selection process

A selection committee comprised of nominees of the New South Wales Law Society, The New South Wales Bar Association and Legal Aid NSW consider all panel applications. During the evaluation process the selection committee may seek further information from an applicant and contact referees.

After considering all applications, the selection committee makes recommendations to the Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid NSW who then determines the composition of the panel. Applicants are subsequently notified of the outcome.

If an applicant is not recommended for appointment to a panel, the applicant will receive written notification including the reasons for the decision. The applicant is given a reasonable opportunity to provide further submissions if they choose to do so.  

Practitioners recommended for appointment to a panel must execute an online service provision agreement in order to activate their appointment.

Panel enquiries

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