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Terms and conditions of use of Grants Online

1. General

These terms and conditions of use form the entire agreement between the authorised user and Legal Aid NSW in relation to Grants Online and any other websites where a Grants Online login is used. They replace any earlier agreements, representations or discussions regarding Grants Online.

Use of our services constitutes acceptance of the Terms and Conditions.

1.1 The authorised user must

  1. act honestly and in good faith in their dealings with Legal Aid NSW at all times
  2. comply with the requirements of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW) (the Act)
  3. comply with any Legal Aid NSW policies or guidelines governing the submission of applications for legal aid or claims for payment of fees and disbursements.

Policies and guidelines are available under For Lawyers > Policy Online

2. Record keeping

A legal practitioner using Grants Online to undertake legal aid work must:

2.1 keep a copy of the application signed by the client on their file.

However the legal practitioner is not required to obtain the client’s signature if

  1. the legal practitioner is acting as the separate legal representative for a child, or
  2. the application is an extension request.

If the client is in custody and it was not practicable for the legal practitioner to obtain the client’s signature before submitting the application, the legal practitioner must obtain the client's signature on the application form as soon as practicable.

2.2 obtain and retain copies of any information or documents relevant to the application or extensions and the assessment of the client’s eligibility for legal aid

2.3 Retain the client’s file together with the documents specified at 2.1 and 2.2 above for a period no less than seven (7) years.

2.4 ensure that the information entered into the application form accurately reflects the client's means as disclosed on the verification of means documents. If the legal practitioner is unable to obtain verification of means and is therefore seeking to waive the requirement to obtain verification, this must be clearly noted in the appropriate field on the application form.

2.5 keep on their file the original Centrelink consent form signed and dated by the client, where the client has consented to Legal Aid NSW verifying their entitlements with Centrelink.

2.6 not indicate on the application that the client has consented to Legal Aid NSW verifying their entitlements with Centrelink, unless the legal practitioner holds the original Centrelink consent form signed and dated by the client.

2.7 retain the original signed Centrelink consent for five years from the date of submission of the application or if any extension request is submitted, for five years from the date of the last extension request; the original signed Centrelink consent form must be provided to Legal Aid NSW immediately upon request for the purpose of audit by either Legal Aid NSW or Centrelink.

2.8 retain on their file sufficient documentation including all relevant reports, correspondence and file notes to:

  1. justify any recommendation made by the practitioner that an application for legal aid has legal merit or satisfies relevant policy and guidelines
  2. verify the completion of any work for which payment of fees has been claimed from Legal Aid NSW.

2.9 retain receipts or other verifying evidence of all disbursements claimed for payment from Legal Aid NSW.

2.10 if requested by Legal Aid NSW, forward within the time requested by Legal Aid NSW, the signed copy of the legal aid application form, the signed Centrelink consent form (if applicable), the documents verifying the client’s means, the documents justifying a merit recommendation, the receipts for or other evidence of any disbursements claimed, and documents verifying completion of the work for which payment of fees has been claimed from Legal Aid NSW.

3. Practitioner certification

Application for aid & extension requests

3.1 Upon submission of an application for aid or extension request, the submitting legal practitioner must certify that:

  1. the application comes within Legal Aid NSW’s policies and guidelines and
  2. where the application is subject to the Means Test the required verification documents have been retained or waiver sought.

3.2 Where the submitting legal practitioner is not satisfied that the application for aid comes within Legal Aid NSW’s policies and guidelines, they should choose either:

  1. Not Satisfied or
  2. Not Satisfied Discretion Requested

Claims by legal practitioner

3.3 Upon submission of a Claim, the submitting legal practitioner must:

  1. Certify that the claim is correct and accurately reflects the services undertaken and disbursements incurred
  2. Acknowledge that the claim and file are subject to audit by Legal Aid NSW
  3. Claim fees and disbursements ONLY in accordance with any applicable Legal Aid NSW fee scales, and
  4. Ensure that all claims for fees submitted to Legal Aid NSW accurately reflect the work done on the file:

    (i) Where fees are paid on a unit basis (e.g. in hours or days) the legal practitioner must claim only the number of units of work conducted on the matter.

    (ii) The legal practitioner may claim fees only for the purpose specified in the grant of legal aid. For example the legal practitioner may not claim fees against hours approved for court attendance to cover preparation undertaken by the legal practitioner.

Claims by law practice authorised user (non-practitioner)

3.4 Upon submission of a Claim by an authorised user in a Law Practice the authorised user must:

  1. Enter the name of the appropriate legal practitioner who performed the work in the certification noting that the legal practitioner is certifying that:

    (i) The claim is correct and accurately reflects the services undertaken and disbursements incurred and

    (ii) Acknowledges that the claim and file are subject to audit by Legal Aid NSW

4. Responsibilities of authorised users (including Principals)

General

4.1 Authorised users agree to:

  1. use only their own username to access Grants Online
  2. keep their password secure
  3. never divulge their password to any other person within or outside the Law Practice (Note: No Legal Aid NSW staff member will ask an authorised user to divulge their password to Legal Aid NSW).
  4. Change their password every 30 days
  5. Use strong passwords, including a minimum length of eight characters, and at least one character from three of the following four groups

    (i) uppercase characters (A through Z)

    (ii) lowercase characters (a through z)

    (iii) numerals (0 through 9)

    (iv) non-alphabetic characters (such as !, $, #, %)

4.2 Authorised users agree not to:

  1. insert passwords into email messages or other forms of written communication
  2. enable a browser to auto save passwords
  3. use with Grants Online a password s/he uses for any other online service or account.

4.3 The authorised user agrees not to access Grants Online facilities of that Law Practice in the event that authorised user leaves the Law Practice.

4.4 The authorised user must immediately contact the Legal Aid NSW Service Desk to update their registration details if s/he leaves the Law Practice at which s/he is registered for Grants Online.

Security

4.5 Authorised users must ensure that:

  1. logged in Grants Online sessions are not left unattended unless the computer or device is locked and accessible only to the authorised user who is logged into Grants Online
  2. any authorised users log out of Grants Online and close the browser window after using Grants Online
  3. Grants Online is not accessed from shared or public computers (e.g. Internet cafes) or through any insecure wi-fi networks.

4.6 The authorised user at the Law Practice must take all reasonable steps to prevent any person gaining unauthorised access to Grants Online with that authorised user’s access.

4.7 If any authorised user at the Law Practice suspects that their password has become known to any other person, the authorised user must change the password immediately.  The authorised user must immediately notify Legal Aid NSW if they suspect that any unauthorised person may have gained access to Grants Online.

Updating Details

4.8 Authorised users must ensure that either the Grants Online administrator or each legal practitioner at the Law Practice must update the following details in Grants Online when changes occur to their:

  1. telephone number
  2. direct telephone number
  3. fax number
  4. email address.

5. Responsibilities of Authorised Users who are Principals

General

5.1 Principals of a Law Practice agree to:

  1. Be responsible for the security of the administrator username and password issued by Legal Aid NSW to the Law Practice or other authorised users at the Law Practice.
  2. Immediately notify the Legal Aid NSW Service Desk if the administrator ceases to be employed by the Law Practice.
  3. Ensure that the access to Grants Online facilities of any authorised user at the Law Practice is immediately disabled if the authorised user leaves the Law Practice.
  4. Be liable for the acts and omissions of the authorised users of the Law Practice where those acts and omissions would constitute a breach of these terms and conditions.

Security

5.2 The Principal must ensure computers, personal devices and any networks used by authorised users at the Law Practice to access Grants Online are secure.

5.3 The Principal must ensure that:

  1. up-to-date anti-virus, firewall and spyware protection is installed and updated regularly
  2. computers and any personal devices are regularly scanned for viruses and spyware
  3. Cyber security incidents that could impact Legal Aid NSW and/or its Clients, the Law Practice must notify both the Director ICT and the Cyber Security Manager at Legal Aid NSW in a timely manner.

Updating Details

5.4 The Principal of the Law Practice must ensure that the Grants Online administrator at the Law Practice must update the following details in Grants Online when there are changes to the Law Practice’s:

  1. business address
  2. telephone number
  3. fax number
  4. email address
  5. remittance email address
  6. remittance fax number
  7. bank account details

6. Changes to terms

Legal Aid NSW may change these terms and conditions of use at any time. Legal Aid NSW will notify the authorised user of changes to these terms of use by posting them on Grants Online. The authorised user’s continued use of Grants Online indicates acceptance of the change.

7. Applicable Law

The laws of New South Wales apply to these terms and conditions of use.

8. Definitions

In these terms of use:

Authorised user means a Principal, legal practitioner or administrative staff employed at a Law Practice who is registered to use Grants Online in accordance with these terms and conditions of use.

Grants Online is the online system administered by Legal Aid NSW that is used to assign, transfer, and pay a Law Practice for legal aid work

Law Practice is defined by the Act and means:

  • a sole practitioner (including a barrister)
  • a law firm
  • an incorporated legal practice
  • an unincorporated legal practice.

legal aid work means:

  • legal services provided to a legally assisted person
  • duty work

Legal practitioner means an Australian legal practitioner as defined by the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) who holds a current Australian practising certificate.

Principal of the Law Practice means the principal or partner of the Law Practice who is the representative for the Law Practice.

Updated June 2021