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Criminal matters - solicitors

Fees for State law matters for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

  1. Local Court – Solicitor Fees
  2. Children's Court Committals – Solicitor Fees
  3. Local Court Committals/District Court & Supreme Court Sentences (Practitioner Fees for matters charged on or after 1 January 2006)
  4. District Court (Appeals from Local Court & Children's Court) – Solicitor Fees
  5. District Court - Solicitor Fees
  6. Supreme Court - Solicitor Fees
  7. Court of Criminal Appeal - Solicitor Fees
  8. High Court - Solicitor Fees
  9. Additional Preparation
  10. Travel Entitlements
  11. Frequently asked questions

1. Local Court - Solicitor Fees

Scale of fees for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

  • Local Court State Summary Crime
  • Children's Court Crime and associated matters
  • Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007

Start Up Grant - Defended hearings

Appearance fee (excluding mentions)

Up to three hours on a defended hearing

$150 per hour

Preparation (inclusive of an initial conference with the client);


$230

Mentions (inclusive of waiting time)

Waiting time is payable except:

  • A solicitor has other private work to attend to whilst waiting for legal aid matters to be reached; or
  • In defended hearings.

In defended matters solicitors should obtain a marking from the court to reduce waiting time. If a marking is obtained the solicitor will be paid at the mention rate i.e. $75 per half hour at court to a maximum of one hour.

Up to 2.5 hours;

$75 per ½ hour $150 per hour

Visit to correctional centre

Children's court


$112.50

Local Court


$87

Interpreter fees if required

Where an interpreter is required you must ensure the court orders an interpreter for the hearing at the courts expense


Up to $200

General disbursements: You may incur disbursements for the following items up to $150;

  • Filing fee for subpoenas
  • Conduct money
  • agent fees
  • Legal notices
  • Medical reports
  • Psychologist/Psychiatrist reports
  • Witness expenses
  • Photocopying, fax and telephone calls (to a pre-approved maximum of $30.00)

Receipts must be kept on file for audit purposes.


Up to $150

Travel entitlements



Fee rates for work items in the Local Court, Children's Court or in Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 other than fees included in the Start Up Grant 

Appearance at court (excluding mentions)

Prior approval

$150 per hour

Conference with client/witness

$95.00

Mentions

$75 per half hour

View

$150 per hour

Legal Practitioners, whether solicitor or counsel, will be paid at the above rates.

Recovery of costs in criminal matters - Solicitors and Counsel in criminal matters will be paid at a rate of 175% of the legal aid fee rates when;

  1. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, or
  2. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person by the Supreme Court in prerogative writ matters or similar proceedings, or
  3. The legally aided accused person is granted a certificate under Section 2 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967.

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2.  Children's Court Committal – Solicitor Fees

Scale of fees for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

Court Appearances

Hearings
Per hour at court to a maximum of 5 hours per day for a single accused

$150.00

Mentions
Per half hour at court to a maximum of 1 hour

$75.00

Section 91 Applications
Per hour at court to a maximum of 5 hours per day

$150.00

Waiting time is payable except if a solicitor has other private work to attend to whilst waiting for legal aid matters to be reached.

Reading / Preparation fee

Hearings
Prior approval must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW

By negotiation

Section 91 & 93 Applications
Prior approval must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW

By negotiation

Where reading/preparation are undertaken and paid for at Committal level, Legal Aid NSW may reduce any further fee payable in respect of those items that would otherwise be paid at trial.

Conferences

Conference
with client (to a maximum of 2)
with witness (where prior approval has been obtained)

$95.00

$95.00

Visit to correctional centre

$112.50

Views

Per hour while at the site of the view. Prior approval for the view must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW.

$150.00

Disbursements

Prior approval must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW for any expenditure on disbursements. Receipts must be retained on file for audit purposes

Travel Entitlements

Legal Practitioners, whether solicitor or counsel, will be paid at the above rates.

Recovery of costs in criminal matters - Solicitors and Counsel in criminal matters will be paid at a rate of 175% of the legal aid fee rates when;

  1. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, or
  2. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person by the Supreme Court in prerogative writ matters or similar proceedings, or
  3. The legally aided accused person is granted a certificate under Section 2 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967.

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3. Local Court Committals and matters committed for sentence to the District

Practitioner Fees for matters charged on or after 17 October 2011

Fee Scale applies to:

  • matters that are strictly indictable;
  • to indictable offences listed in Table 1 to Schedule 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (CPA) where an election has been made to proceed on indictment;
  • Table 2 to Schedule 1 of the CPA where an election has been made by the prosecution to proceed on indictment, and
  • matters subject to case conferencing ( See Criminal Case Conferencing Trial Act and Local Court Practice Note 1 of 2010)

Fee scale applies to matters capable of being committed to the District and Supreme Court

The fee structure includes:

  • Committal proceedings practitioner fee scale – Table A1 & A2
  • Counsel to advise on defence fee scale – Table B
  • Fee scale where matter committed for sentence to the District Court – Table C
  • Associated Guidelines - Schedule 1

Table A1 – Standard Committal Grant practitioner fee scale

Reading/preparation of brief

5.5 hours x $150 per hour

$825

Conference with the client

2 x $95

$190

Mentions including waiting time

$75 per half hour up to 4 hours

Up to $600

Court time for local court sentence, paper committal or waiver of committal

2 x $150

Up to $300

Visit to correctional centre

$87

$87

The standard committal grant covers all necessary work involved in reading the prosecution brief, conferences with the client, taking instructions, negotiating with the prosecution and appearing at committal mentions. The grant includes an allowance for two client conferences. (Fees may be paid for travel to gaols or courts outside the metropolitan area).

Table A2 Committal Fees for extension work items

Case Conference*

$375

Preparation of s91 or s93

Up to 2 hours x $150 per hour

Up to $300

Appearance on contested s91 or s93

$150 per hour

1 hour

Preparation of contested committal hearing

$150 per hour up to 2 hours

Up to $300

Appearance at contested committal

$375 per half day up to 4 half days

$375 per ½ day

Appearance at contested hearing for coaccused

$99 per half day up to 2 days

Can only claim for preparation on lead file

Additional preparation

By negotiation and subject to additional preparation guidelines

Committal fees for extension work items

* 1. Case Conference

The case conference fee is only claimable where the practitioner attends a face to face conference. A practitioner should only claim the fee where:

  • A prosecution disclosure certificate has been served,
  • The client has given instructions to explore the possibility of negotiating a plea to a reduced charge, or amended facts to the substantive charge,
  • Substantial negotiation has taken place with the DPP,

There are reasonable prospects of resolution of the matter by way of summary disposal or a plea at the case conference.

The Case Conference fee may be paid for a “face to face” Case Conference after committal but only with prior approval

2) Additional preparation

A practitioner appearing for a legally aided client at committal may make an application for payment of fees for additional preparation (including reading, conferences, listening to tape recordings, inspection of exhibits, views) in accordance with the Additional Preparation Guidelines (Part B of Schedule 1) However, additional preparation will not usually be considered at committal unless there is something extraordinary about the brief. The amount of additional preparation payable is at the absolute discretion of the Director Criminal Law, Director Grants or their nominee.

Following committal, a practitioner may seek additional preparation in relation to material not served prior to committal. Approval is subject to the Additional Preparation Guidelines.

3) Mentions

A fee will be paid for every necessary attendance at a committal mention at the rate of $75 per half hour. The standard committal grant allows for up to 4 hours of mentions. If there are further mentions you will be required to apply for an extension.

4) Committals that proceed as a plea in the Local Court

Where the committal is resolved as a summary plea in the Local Court, time in court for making the plea will be paid at the hourly rate up to 2 hours.

5) Paper committal

The fee for appearance at paper committal will be paid at the hourly rate up to 2 hours.

6) Section 91 and 93   

A fee for preparation of section 91 or 93 will be paid at $150 per hour. A further fee will be paid for the appearance before a magistrate on that application. If directions are made by consent, the fee is fixed at $150. If the application is contested, time in court will be paid at the hourly rate up to 1 hour. More than 1 hour will be grants assessed.

7) Contested committal hearing

The appearance fee for a contested committal hearing will be paid at the ½ day rate to a maximum of 2 days only.

Application must be made to Legal Aid NSW for a committal hearing of more than 2 days. Where satisfied that a hearing of more than 2 days is necessary, the fee payable will be at the absolute discretion of the Deputy CEO (Legal), Director Criminal Law, Director Grants or their nominee.

8) Co-accused at contested committal hearing

Where a practitioner represents more than one accused on a contested committal hearing, a loading will be paid for each additional co-accused. The loading for each additional co-accused at the contested committal hearing will be paid at $99 per half day.

Preparation will only be paid on the lead file.

9) Complex matters

In Exceptional circumstances, matters which would normally be covered by the General Crime Panel may be assigned to practitioners appointed to the Serious Crime Panel.

Exceptional circumstances include where the matter is a complex criminal matter.

10) Briefing Counsel

In committal proceedings, it is a condition of the grant of legal aid that a practitioner must not brief counsel unless Legal Aid NSW has given express approval.

1) A practitioner authorised by Legal Aid NSW to brief a barrister will brief:

a. a Public Defender, unless a Public Defender is not available or it is not appropriate: see point 2; or

b. a barrister having appropriate experience: see point 3.

2) Legal Aid NSW may determine from time to time the circumstances in which it is not appropriate to brief a Public Defender: for example, at District Court Circuit Sittings not serviced by a Public Defender.

3) For a complex criminal matter, a barrister having appropriate experience is a barrister who has been appointed to the Specialist Barrister Panel (complex criminal matter), unless there are exceptional circumstances as determined by the Director, Grants or delegate or by the Director, Crime or delegate.

Complex Criminal Matters

A complex criminal matter includes:

  • All Supreme Court trials and pleas;
  • Manslaughter trials and pleas;
  • Matters where the trial is complex because of the nature of the charge or the defence. For example: sex slavery, fraud or money laundering charges where there are more than 30 counts and/or the total value is more than $500,000.00;
  • Trials identified by the trial judge as requiring significant case management pursuant to s.141 Criminal Procedure Act 1986;
  • Where the trial length is estimated at 20 days or more;
  • Where the brief of evidence is more than 5,000 pages;
  • All terrorism matters;
  • Sexual assault trials where there are multiple complainants and/or multiple defendants.
  • Counsel to appear at committal instead of practitioner
    Legal Aid NSW may grant approval for a practitioner to engage counsel to appear at the committal hearing – subject to the briefing guidelines for complex criminal matters, on the basis that the practitioner will forego their fees and instead, counsel will be paid at solicitor rates.
  • Direct access briefs to counsel at committal
    Legal Aid NSW may grant aid for committal proceedings on a direct access basis to counsel, if it appears likely that the proceedings can be resolved by way of a plea of guilty in the Local Court and an instructing solicitor will not be required.   Aid will not be granted on a direct access basis to counsel in relation to complex criminal matter.

    Legal Aid NSW may grant aid for committal proceedings on a direct access basis to counsel, if the matter is likely to be a plea of guilty or a trial where an instructing practitioner is unlikely to be required.

    Counsel will be paid at solicitor rates.

    Where a committal is assigned on a direct access basis to counsel, if an instructing solicitor is required in the District Court and the case has not been assigned because of conflict, the instructing solicitor will be an employee of Legal Aid NSW, if available.
  • Counsel to advise on defence

Table B - Counsel to advise on defence

Counsel to advise on defence Counsel

$924

1) Briefing Counsel

 A specific grant may be made to counsel to advise on defence where a solicitor is not able to advise the client on how they should plead. A practitioner must not brief counsel to advise on defence unless Legal Aid NSW has given express approval. Legal Aid NSW will not grant approval unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Legal Aid NSW will require from the solicitor, details of the nature of the matter and an explanation of the legal or evidentiary issues about which advice is to be sought. This advice should be obtained before the Case Conference, if possible.

Approval for counsel to advise on defence is at the absolute discretion of Director Criminal Law, Director, Grants or their nominee.

2) Additional preparation

Counsel may make an application for payment of fees for additional preparation (including reading and conferences). Approval for additional preparation and the fee payable is at the absolute discretion of the Director Criminal Law, Director Grants or their nominee. Where additional preparation is allowed, counsel will be required to keep a record of time spent on preparation and a synopsis of material read.

The fee for counsel to advise will be deducted from the fee for preparation for trial.

3. Table C – Fee scale where matter committed to the District Court - Standard Sentence

Standard Sentence Practitioner fee

Preparation including conference

Gaol fee

$300

$150

Appearance

Per ½ day

Full day

$375

$750

Per co-accused

Per ½ day

Full day

$99

$198

Arraignment/mention (including where matter listed but does not proceed) and taking sentence

$150

 

1) Lump sum fee

A lump sum fee is payable where a practitioner represents a client on sentence in the District Court. The lump sum fee covers all necessary work involved in preparing the plea, including conferences with the client.

The lump sum fee includes an allowance for two client conferences. (An additional amount may be claimed for travel where the client is in custody in a gaol outside the metropolitan area, with prior approval).

2) Sentence Hearing

The appearance fee for the plea (making submissions on sentence) will be paid at the ½ day rate.

3) Co-accused

Where a practitioner represents more than one co-accused on sentence proceedings, a fee will be paid for each additional co-accused at the ½ day rate.

4) Arraignment, Mentions, Taking Sentence

A fee will be paid for attending at arraignment, and for every necessary mention.

This fee applies where the matter is listed for sentence but does not proceed. This fee (as opposed to the refresher rate) also applies where sentence is adjourned for judgement and the practitioner attends to take sentence.

5) Requests for briefing counsel in sentence proceedings

It is a condition of the grant of legal aid that a practitioner must not brief counsel unless Legal Aid NSW has given express approval.

1) A practitioner authorised by Legal Aid NSW to brief a barrister will brief:

a. a Public Defender, unless a Public Defender is not available or it is not appropriate: see point 2; or

b. a barrister having appropriate experience: see point 3.

2) Legal Aid NSW may determine from time to time the circumstances in which it is not appropriate to brief a Public Defender: for example, at District Court Circuit Sittings not serviced by a Public Defender.

3) For a complex criminal matter, a barrister having appropriate experience is a barrister who has been appointed to the Specialist Barrister Panel (complex criminal matters), unless there are special circumstances as determined by the Director, grants or delegate or by the Director, Crime or delegate.

Complex Criminal Matters

A complex criminal matter includes:

  • All Supreme Court trials and pleas;
  • Manslaughter trials and pleas;
  • Matters where the trial is complex because of the nature of the charge or the defence. For example: sex slavery, fraud or money laundering charges where there are more than 30 counts and/or the total value is more than $500,000.00;
  • Trials identified by the trial judge as requiring significant case management pursuant to s.141 Criminal Procedure Act 1986;
  • Where the trial length is estimated at 20 days or more;
  • Where the brief of evidence is more than 5,000 pages;
  • All terrorism matters;
  • Sexual assault trials where there are multiple complainants and/or multiple defendants.
  • Counsel to appear instead of practitioner at sentence proceedings Legal Aid NSW may grant approval for a practitioner to engage counsel to appear on the basis that the practitioner will forego their fees and, instead, counsel will be paid at practitioner rates.
  • Direct access brief to counsel

    Legal Aid NSW may grant aid for sentence proceedings on the basis of a direct access brief to counsel in accordance with Legal Aid NSW Business Rules and Practice Standards. In such circumstances counsel will be paid in accordance to Table C
  • Request for briefing counsel in Sentence proceedings

    In all other circumstances, Legal Aid NSW will not approve a solicitor to brief counsel in sentence proceedings unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    Approval for counsel to appear on sentence is at the absolute discretion of the), Director Criminal Law, Director Grants or their nominee. Factors that must be present before Legal Aid NSW will give consideration to briefing counsel are set out in Part C of Schedule 1. The amount that will be paid to both practitioner and counsel shall be at the absolute discretion of the Director Criminal Law, Director Grants or their nominee.

Schedule 1

  • Part A – Lump Sum Fee Conditions

1. The pro forma fee claim sheet must be used for all lump sum fees.

2. Private practitioners assigned legally aided matters under the General Criminal Law Panel or the Serious Criminal Matters Panel must comply with Legal Aid NSW's General Criminal Law Practice Standards and Serious Criminal Law Practice Standards, as amended from time to time, (the Practice Standards).

3. Lump sum fees are payable only where the panel practitioner has given adequate and proper attention to the case and has complied with the Practice Standards. Legal Aid NSW reserves the right to request the practitioner’s file/brief and working documents, and if not satisfied that adequate and proper attention has been given, will decide whether all or part of the lump sum fee should be paid, and whether any other action is appropriate.

4. A practitioner should only claim the fee for the Case Conference where:

(a) A Prosecution Disclosure Certificate has been served.

(b) The client has given instructions to explore the possibility of negotiating a plea to a reduced charge, or amended facts for a plea to the substantive charge.

(c) Substantial negotiation has taken place with the DPP.

(d) There is a reasonable prospect of resolution of the matter by way of summary disposal or a plea at the Case Conference.

5. In all appropriate cases practitioners must apply for costs orders and where successful, courts asked to order that costs be paid to Legal Aid NSW.

Part B – Preparation Fees for Practitioner at Committal

A practitioner appearing for a legally aided client at committal may make an application for payment of fees for additional preparation (including reading, conferences, listening to tape recordings, inspection of exhibits, views) in accordance with these guidelines:

1. Additional fees for preparation for committal will only be allowed where the preparation is necessary and in exceptional circumstances.

2. Before additional fees for preparation will be considered, Legal Aid NSW will require:

(a) an estimate of the amount of time it will take to read and prepare the case;

(b) details of the nature and extent of preparation, including the nature of documents to be perused;

(c) where counsel is briefed, details about which preparation is to be undertaken by counsel and which preparation will be undertaken by the solicitor.

3. If necessary, Legal Aid NSW will independently examine the documents and may require further and better particulars about the amount of preparation necessary.

4. Requests for additional preparation must be made within sufficient time for the request to be considered by Legal Aid NSW.

5. A practitioner ust comply with the file management procedures outlined in the Practice Standards.

6. A practitioner is presumed to know the law. A fee will not be paid for researching the law.

7. The appearance fee on a Section 91 application and a contested committal hearing includes remuneration for time that it is ordinarily necessary to spend before and after court each day reading the transcript, preparing arguments and submissions and conferring with the client, plus remuneration for time spent in court.

Part C – Briefing Counsel at Committal 

In legally aided matters a combination of the following factors must be present before consideration can be given to briefing junior counsel:

  • The matter is a complex criminal matter.
  • The client has given instructions to negotiate a plea to a reduced charge.
  • A Crown Prosecutor will be attending the case conference.
  • The brief involves issues of legal or evidentiary complexity.
  • The charge involves allegations of conspiracy.
  • The case involves multiple co accused and is complex.
  • The client has a mental illness or an intellectual disability and the case is complex.
  • A Crown witness is an informer.
  • The client has given instructions he or she will give evidence against a co accused.
  • The defence is complex.
  • The practitioner is in a remote location without ready access to a Public Defender to assist in the conduct of complex negotiations.
  • Attempts to negotiate a plea of guilty to a reduced charge with the DPP prior to the case conference have been unsuccessful.
  • A grant has been given for counsel to advise on defence.

Approval to retain counsel at this stage is limited to the Case Conference. Separate authority to retain counsel must be obtained for any other stage of the proceedings.

Where counsel has been briefed for the Case Conference and the matter is committed to the District Court for trial, the assigned solicitor should make all efforts to brief the same counsel.

Practitioners must contact the Public Defenders Chambers to ascertain the availability of a Public Defender. A Non-Acceptance of Brief Form from the Public Defenders is required before briefing private counsel. Where a committal is assigned to counsel as a direct brief, aid will not be approved for briefing additional counsel for the Case Conference.

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4. District Court (Appeals from the Local and Children's Court) - Solicitor Fees

Scale of fees for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

Court Appearances

Attendance at court (excluding mentions)

Per hour at court

$150.00

Per half hour at court (part thereof)

$75.00

Mentions

Per half hour at court to a maximum of 1 hour

$75.00

Waiting time is not payable

Conferences

Conference with client

$115.00

Visit to correctional centre

$150.00

View

Per hour while at the site of the view. Prior approval for the view must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW.

$150.00

Additional Approvals
No other fees or allowances will be paid unless prior approval is obtained.

a

Travel Entitlements

Legal Practitioners, whether solicitor or counsel, will be paid at the above rates.

Recovery of costs in criminal matters - Solicitors and Counsel in criminal matters will be paid at a rate of 175% of the legal aid fee rates when;

  1. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, or
  2. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person by the Supreme Court in prerogative writ matters or similar proceedings, or
  3. The legally aided accused person is granted a certificate under Section 2 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967.

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5. District Court - Solicitor Fees

Scale of fees for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

Trials

Initial Trial Preparatiion fee

$300.00

Mention/not reached: per hour in Court

$150.00

Attendance at court ordered case conference

$150 per hour up to 2 hours

Attendance on first day of trial

$750.00

thereafter per hour

$150.00

maximum per day

$750.00

Co-accused

Each co-accused represented per day

$210.00

Conferences

Per accused/witness

$136.00

Visit to correctional centre

$150.00

With accused where trial exceeds 1 week (up to 2 per week during trial)

$136.00

Sentence Matters (Does not include Committal for sentence matters  refer to Table C committal fee scale )

Preparation fee

$300.00

Appearance in Court:

Per hour

$150.00

Per day maximum

$750.00

No-Bill Application/Notice of Motion/other Interlocutory Applications (where prior approval has been obtained): per hour

$150.00

Per hour while at the site of the view. Prior approval for the view must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW.

$150.00

Clerks;

The Prior written consent of the client, counsel and Legal Aid is required

Clerk instructing Counsel will be paid up to 70% of Solicitor fee

Solicitors Conducting District Court Trial without Counsel; Prior approval from Legal Aid is required

Solicitor Advocate fee

Additional reading/ preparation fee:
(only allowed in exceptional circumstances)

By negotiation

Travel Entitlements

 Recovery of costs in criminal matters - Solicitors and Counsel in criminal matters will be paid at a rate of 175% of the legal aid fee rates when;

  1. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, or
  2. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person by the Supreme Court in prerogative writ matters or similar proceedings, or
  3. The legally aided accused person is granted a certificate under Section 2 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967.

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6. Supreme Court - Solicitor Fees

Scale of fees for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

Trials

Initial trial preparation fee

$300.00

Mention/not reached: per hour in Court

$150.00

No-Bill Application/Notice of Motion/other Interlocutory Applications (where prior approval has been obtained): per hour

$150.00

Attendance at court ordered case conference

$150.00 per hour up to 2 hours

first day

$750.00

thereafter per hour

$150.00

maximum per day

$750.00

Co-accused

Each co-accused represented per day

$210.00

Bail applications

Preparation fee

$300.00

Appearance in Court: per hour

$150.00

Conferences

Per accused/witness

$136.00

Visit to gaol/shelter per journey

$150.00

With accused where trial exceeds 1 week (up to 2 per week during trial)

$136.00

Sentence Matters

Preparation fee

$300.00

Appearance in Court:

Per hour

$150.00

Per day maximum

$750.00

View: Per hour while at the site of the view. Prior approval for the view must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW.

$150.00

Clerks: The prior written consent of the client, counsel and Legal Aid NSW is required.

Clerk instructing Counsel will be paid up to 70% of Solicitor fee

Additional reading/ preparation fee:
(only allowed in exceptional circumstances)

By negotiation

Travel Entitlements

Recovery of costs in criminal matters - Solicitors and Counsel in criminal matters will be paid at a rate of 175% of the legal aid fee rates when;

1. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, or

2. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person by the Supreme Court in prerogative writ matters or similar proceedings, or

3. The legally aided accused person is granted a certificate under Section 2 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967.

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7. Court of Criminal Appeal - Solicitor Fees

Scale of fees for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

Briefing counsel to obtain his/her opinion on the prospect of success of the proposed appeal

$600.00

Conference with the appellant

$136.00

Travel to Gaol / Shelter per journey

$121.00

Mention/not reached: per hour in Court

$150.00

Instructing Counsel in Court: first day

$750.00

· thereafter per hour

$150.00

· maximum per day

$750.00

Preparation / Reading Fee - By negotiation

Travel Entitlements

Recovery of costs in criminal matters - Solicitors and Counsel in criminal matters will be paid at a rate of 175% of the legal aid fee rates when;

1. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, or

2. An order for costs is made in favour of the legally aided accused person by the Supreme Court in prerogative writ matters or similar proceedings, or

3. The legally aided accused person is granted a certificate under Section 2 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967.

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8. High Court - Solicitor Fees

Scale of fees for approvals made on or after 17 Oct 2011

Briefing counsel to obtain opinion on the prospect of success of the proposed appeal

$600.00

Conference with the appellant

$136.00

Travel to Gaol / Shelter per journey

$121.00

Mention/not reached: per hour in Court

$150.00

Instructing Counsel in Court: first day

$750.00

· thereafter per hour

$150.00

· maximum per day

$750.00

Preparation / Reading Fee - By negotiation, but only in exceptional circumstances

Travel Entitlements


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9. Additional Preparation

Committal

Legal practitioner (including counsel on a direct access brief)

A legal practitioner (including counsel on a direct access brief) appearing for a legally aided client at committal may make an application for payment of fees for preparation (including reading, conferences, listening to tape recordings, inspection of exhibits, views) in addition to the brief fee paid in the standard committal grant. However, additional preparation will not usually be considered at committal unless there is something extraordinary about the brief. Approval for additional preparation and the fee payable is at the absolute discretion of the Director Criminal Law or the Director Grants or their nominee.

Following committal, a legal practitioner may seek additional preparation in relation to material not served prior to committal.

Approval is subject to the Additional Preparation Guidelines.

Counsel (where approval has been obtained for counsel to advise on the brief and/or approval has been given for counsel to be briefed at committal)

Where approval has been obtained for counsel to advise on the brief and/or appear for a legally aided client, counsel may make an application for payment of fees for preparation (including reading, conferences, listening to tape recordings, inspection of exhibits, views) in addition to the fee paid to advise on the brief. However, additional preparation will not usually be considered at committal unless there is something extraordinary about the brief. Approval for Additional Preparation and the fee payable is at the absolute discretion of the Director Criminal Law or the Director Grants or their nominee.

All fees paid at committal will be paid at the Legal Practitioner rate.

Where additional preparation is allowed, counsel will be required to keep a record of time spent on preparation and a synopsis of material read.

The fee for counsel to advise on the brief and/or any fee paid as preparation at committal will be deducted from the fee for preparation for trial.

Approval is subject to the Additional Preparation Guidelines.

Trial

Solicitor

Following committal, a legal practitioner may seek additional preparation in relation to material not served prior to committal.

Approval is subject to the Additional Preparation Guidelines.

Counsel

A fee for reading the brief will be paid to counsel once only. Counsel engaged at committal either on a direct access basis, or to advise on the brief and/or to appear at committal will not be eligible to claim the initial trial grant brief fee as this fee will have already been paid.

Preparation in addition to the fee at committal or the initial trial grant will generally not be considered before arraignment unless there is something extraordinary about the brief.

Approval is subject to the Additional Preparation Guidelines.

Guidelines for Additional Preparation

An application for payment of fees for additional preparation (including reading, conferences, listening to tape recordings, inspection of exhibits, views) are subject to the following guidelines:

4. Before additional fees for preparation will be considered, Legal Aid NSW will require:

(a) an estimate of the amount of time it will take to read and prepare the case;

(b) details of the nature and extent of preparation, including the nature of documents to be perused;

(c) where counsel is briefed, details about which preparation is to be undertaken by counsel and which preparation will be undertaken by the solicitor; and

(d) an estimate of the court time if the matter goes to hearing/trial.

5. If necessary, Legal Aid NSW will independently examine the documents and may require further and better particulars about the amount of preparation necessary.

4. Requests for additional preparation must be made within sufficient time for the request to be considered by Legal Aid NSW.

5. A practitioner must comply with the file management procedures outlined in the Practice Standards.

6. A practitioner is presumed to know the law. A fee will not be paid for researching the law.

7. Additional fees for preparation will only be allowed where the preparation is necessary and in exceptional circumstances.

Method for calculating additional preparation

1. Applications for additional reading may be considered if the brief contains more than 600 pages of reading/scanning material or, preparation sought is greater than a total of 6 hours (where there is a combination of reading/scanning, viewing), and

the trial will have one or more of the following characteristics:

a) the trial is likely to exceed 10 days, or has taken more than 10 days and the conviction/sentence is appealed;

b) the trial involves multiple accused or multiple offences;

c) the trial involves complex legal issues, such as

i) charges relating to relatively untested law (e.g. terrorism),

ii) complex fraud or money laundering trials,

iii) commercial manufacture or supply of a prohibited drug,

iv) multiple offences against complainants

v) contested expert evidence

2. The method of calculating the fee rate for preparation will apply:

a) Reading by both practitioners

i) Statements

ii) Record of interview

iii) Viewing the record of interview

b) Reading by the barrister only

i) Committal transcript

c) Reading/watching/listening by solicitor or barrister only, but not both

i) Transcripts of telephone intercepts

ii) Transcripts of listening devices

iii) Transcripts of surveillance logs

d) Scanning by either solicitor or barrister but not both practitioners

i) Previous trial transcript

ii) Surveillance logs other than surveillance logs transcribed

iii) Photographs

iv) Financial documents

v) Video/audio tapes other than video/audio tapes transcribed

vi) Medical reports

3. The fee for reading the brief will be paid at the applicable practitioner hourly rate.

4. The fee for scanning the brief will be paid at ½ the applicable practitioner hourly rate.

Note: The amount of additional preparation payable is at the absolute discretion of the CEO, Executive Director Criminal Law, Executive Director, Grants & Community Partnerships, Director Grants or their nominee.


10. Travel Entitlements

Travel Allowance for approvals on or after 17 Oct 2011

  • A travel allowance and lump sum payment may be paid if the total return distance travelled from the legal practitioner's office to court exceeds 70 kilometres, and the practitioner is travelling to a court located outside the Sydney metropolitan area.
  • The Sydney metropolitan area includes all courts within the area bounded by:
    • Hornsby;
    • Penrith;
    • Campbelltown; and
    • Sutherland.
  • Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the travel allowance will not be approved where the matter could be assigned to:
    • a practitioner located within 35kms of the court;
    • a practitioner who is significantly closer to the court;
    • a practitioner who has other matters at the court on the same day.
  • Prior approval must be sought for any travel allowance
  • Travel allowance cannot be claimed more than once per day to the same court, regardless of the number of legal aid applicants being represented at that court.

Travel Allowance

Where approved, travel expenses will be paid at a rate of $0.60 per kilometre, or where appropriate, a return economy airfare (which ever is the cheaper).

Lump sum payment for travel time

A lump sum of $100 for travel time is paid in addition to the travel allowance of $0.60 per kilometre. The lump sum payment for travel time may only be claimed once per day on which travel allowance is payable.

Accommodation

Where approved, expenses for accommodation and sustenance will be paid to the maximum rates determined by the Department of Premier and Cabinet of the NSW government in accordance with comparable public sector award rates based on the reasonable benefit limits set by the Australian Tax Office (as updated annually).

Duty

For information about when travel is payable to a practitioner to attend court under the Duty Solicitor Scheme, please refer to page 3 of the Local Court Duty Solicitor Scheme


11. Frequently Asked Questions

Is travel allowance available for appeals?

Yes, provided the criteria for the travel allowance is met and prior approval is obtained.

If travel allowance is approved for a trial, is an allowance paid for accommodation and meals?

Yes. Actual expenses for meals and accommodation may be payable for each 24 hour period up to the maximum rates determined by the Department of Premier and Cabinet of the NSW government in accordance with comparable public sector award rates based on the reasonable benefit limits set by the Australian Tax Office (as updated annually). If an accommodation and sustenance allowance is approved, the applicable rate will be provided to you at the time of the grant or extension. All receipts must be provided and actual expenses only may be recovered.

My client has asked me to appear for him at a court that is more than 35kms from my office. My client insists that I appear and is unwilling to accept another solicitor. Is the travel allowance available?

Generally a travel allowance will not be approved where a practitioner located within 35 kms of the Court is available to appear for the client. In exceptional circumstances travel may be approved e.g. where the client is a child, or has a disability, and Legal Aid NSW agrees that continuity of representation is in the interests of the client.

Is travel allowance payable for views?

Yes, however, prior approval for the view must be obtained from Legal Aid NSW and will be limited to views conducted outside the Sydney metropolitan area.

How do I calculate the driving/road distance between destinations?

The website http://www.travelmate.com.au may assist in calculating distance between destinations.

Am I allowed to engage an agent?

In ordinary circumstances, a practitioner is not entitled to claim an additional grant of aid to instruct an agent. Where an agent is retained because the assigned practitioner is unavailable, the agent must be a panel practitioner and must be paid out of the assigned practitioner’s lump sum fee for any court attendance up to the hearing stage.

Mentions: An additional allowance to instruct an agent at a mention will not be approved unless the practitioner can show that the matter is complex enough to justify an instructing allowance and:

  • Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that engaging an agent is an economical use of legal aid funds; or
  • exceptional circumstances exist.

Hearings: The use of an agent at a hearing will only be approved in exceptional circumstances. If a practitioner cannot attend a hearing it will generally be considered more appropriate for the matter to be reassigned to an available panel practitioner.

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