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I have a problem with a lawyer

First you need to speak to the lawyer

We expect you to try to resolve issues directly with the lawyer first. This gives them a chance to understand your issues and to resolve them with you.

The lawyer may work at a Legal Aid NSW office or they may be a private lawyer who is paid by Legal Aid NSW. We understand that you may not always know which one applies.

I have a grant of aid. Can I change my lawyer?

If you have a grant of legal aid and you want to change your lawyer, there must be exceptional circumstances. These include:

  • if the lawyer is unavailable,
  • a conflict of interest,
  • a breakdown in the relationship between you and your lawyer that cannot be fixed, or
  • where Legal Aid NSW decide that changing your lawyer is an appropriate use of resources.

When deciding whether we will change your lawyer, we will consider:

  • the reasons you want to change lawyer and if there are exceptional circumstances,
  • the amount of work that has been done by your lawyer,
  • the amount of money spent by Legal Aid NSW so far, and
  • where the proceedings are up to.

If you need to change your lawyer because of exceptional circumstances, you can ask your current lawyer to submit a transfer via Grants Online.

If you cannot get in contact with your current lawyer, you must put your request in writing. Please include your full name, file identification number (if you know it), the name of your lawyer and the reasons for the transfer, and send your request to the Grants Division of Legal Aid NSW at:

The Grants Division of Legal Aid NSW

PO BOX K847

Haymarket

NSW 1240

Or by email to:

Family law matters - grants.family@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Crime matters - grants.crime@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Civil law matters - grants.civil@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Can I appeal the decision?

If Legal Aid NSW won’t change your lawyer, there is no right of appeal to the Legal Aid Review Committee (LARC).

What happens if my request to change lawyer is denied?

If Legal Aid NSW decide not to change your lawyer and you do not instruct and co-operate with your lawyer, we may terminate your grant of legal aid.

Can I ask for a change of lawyer on behalf of another person?

If you are a family member or friend of the person who has been granted legal aid, you cannot ask us for a change of lawyer on behalf of that person. We can give you general information about our processes so that you can help your family member or friend to make this request.

Can I make a complaint?

Legal Aid NSW will not take any action if your complaint is simply that we would not change your lawyer if there are no exceptional circumstances.

If you have a problem with your lawyer and it is unable to be resolved and you want to make a complaint, please give us the details (what happened, dates, names of anyone involved and relevant documents) using the online form.

Can I make a complaint on behalf of another person?

If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we will need them to agree that we can respond to you. Please complete the ‘Client authority form’ for complaints when you send us your complaint.

By law we must have the consent of the person you are complaining on behalf of. If you don't do this, we can't give you any information about our dealings with the other person. We are not even able to confirm if that person does or does not have a grant of legal aid.