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Family cross examination of parties scheme

Legal Aid NSW invites interested, suitability qualified solicitors currently appointed to:

  • The Domestic Violence Panel and the General Family Law Panel
  • The Domestic Violence Panel and the Independent Children’s Lawyer Panel

to express an interest in being included in a list of solicitors who will accept referrals to represent eligible parties under the Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross Examination of Parties Scheme (the scheme).

About the scheme

On 11 March 2019, the Family Law Act 1975 will be amended to include s102NA which will see direct cross examination banned in certain circumstances. The Act will protect victims of family violence by requiring that cross examination must be conducted by a legal representative, either a privately retained practitioner or one funded through this scheme.

This scheme is funded by the Commonwealth Government and will be administered in New South Wales by Legal Aid NSW. Funding for legal representation under the scheme will be available at the current Legal Aid fee scale for the preparation and appearance at the final hearing (including Counsel). Parties in the scheme will also be referred to legally assisted dispute resolution processes offered by Legal Aid NSW.

It is expected that solicitors expressing an interest will have:

  • Suitable experience in the area of family law;
  • The capacity to interact with persons affected by family violence and understand the issues impacting on these persons and their lives;
  • Sound judgment;
  • Excellent communication skills.

All solicitors included in the list will be required to observe the practice standards of the panel(s) on which they currently appointed to. They will also be expected to comply with the Guidelines for representation under the scheme (which is currently being developed).

Compulsory training

Solicitors accepted onto the list will be required to attend and satisfactorily participate in compulsory training which is likely to involve:

  • One full day of face to face training – likely to be 5 hours in the Sydney CBD. Solicitors from regional areas will be paid travel costs to attend this session. This training will also be available by Webinar; and
  • Five hours of online training via Webinar.

Fee rates

Solicitors included in the list will be paid at legal aid rates for matters covered by the scheme.

Enquiries

If you have any enquiries about being included in the list, please contact Legal Aid NSW by e-mail at familyexecutive@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.