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How to apply for appointment to a panel

Step 1 - Register for Grants Online

In order to apply for appointment to a Legal Aid NSW panel you must be registered for Grants Online to obtain your own username and password to access the Panels Application website. If you are not already registered, visit the Grants Online Registration page to register. You only need to register once.

For new Grants Online registrations

New registrations for Grants Online must be submitted no later than 5 business days prior to a panel application due date. It may take a number of days for the Legal Aid NSW Service Desk to complete the registration process as they are required to verify details of lawyers who register for Grants Online with the Law Society of NSW or NSW Bar Association (or interstate or territory equivalent) and the Australian Business Register.

The Service Desk may not be able to complete the registration before a panel application due date if:

  • the registration request is submitted within 5 business days of a panel application due date, or
  • your details with the Law Society of NSW or NSW Bar Association (or interstate or territory equivalent) are not up-to-date.

To update your current Grants Online registrations

When completing a panel application, you must ensure that your personal and firm details are up-to-date.

The requirements applied to new registrations above will also be applied to requests to the Service Desk from lawyers to update their existing Grants Online registration details.

For further assistance with registering for Grants Online, updating your personal or firm details or regarding your username and password, contact the Legal Aid NSW Service Desk on 9219 5999 or at servicedesk@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.

Step 2 - Download a copy of the information package

Copies of each panel's information package can be viewed and downloaded from the Panel information packages page or that panel's individual web page.

The information package contains:

  • the information for applicants, which contains the selection criteria and other relevant information about that panel
  • the service provision agreement, which sets out the relationship and obligations between Legal Aid NSW and the private practitioner
  • the practice standards that the practitioner agrees to comply with when representing legally assisted clients

Other relevant information you should familiarise yourself with - as they relate to the panel you are applying for:

Step 3 - Consider whether you may be suitable for appointment to a panel

You should read the panel documents and familiarise yourself with the panel selection criteria and then consider whether you may meet those criteria.

Lawyers who are not in private practice or are employed by a Community Legal Centre or the Aboriginal Legal Service cannot apply for appointment to a panel.

If you are a barrister, you can only apply to those panels where Legal Aid NSW allows barristers to directly represent clients. Barristers cannot apply for appointment to the general civil and family law panels, indictable criminal law solicitor panel, complex criminal law solicitor panel, independent children's lawyer panel and veterans law panel. These panels are only open to solicitors (who can instruct a barrister in appropriate matters subject to Legal Aid NSW policies and approval). Barristers can apply for appointment to the three briefing panels - indictable criminal law, complex criminal law and appellate criminal law.

Step 4 - Application due dates and the selection committee schedule

Panel applications must be submitted by the specified due date so that they can be considered at the next scheduled Selection Committee meeting.

Information about which panel application forms are currently available and their due dates can be viewed at the Panel application form availability page.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, Legal Aid NSW will not accept applications from lawyers after the published due date and whilst a selection process is in progress.

Information on when a lawyer can make a request to expedite a panel application is also set out on the availability and scheduling page.

Step 5 - Completing and submitting your application

Applications must be submitted on-line via the Panels Application Website using your own Grants Online username and password.

Before using the Panels Application Website, you should download and read the Quick Guide for Panels Application Website (pdf 620KB)

When completing an application you should:

  • ensure that your application is under your own name and that your personal and organisation's details are up to date. (Refer to Step 1 for information about updating existing registrations.)
  • address each selection criteria and supply all other relevant information and disclosures where required to demonstrate that all the criteria are met.
  • not assume that the selection committee knows of your expertise in a particular area or what you have achieved in the past.
  • save your work regularly using the "Save as draft" button located at the bottom of the online form. This will ensure that your responses are saved in our database and will minimise the loss of information on your application form in the event of a time out or service interruption.
  • if completing one of the longer application forms, have a draft of your responses saved on a word processing program (e.g. MS Word). After completing the draft you can copy and paste the criteria responses directly into your application.
  • once the application is completed, click on the "Submit" button. You will see a confirmation message on the webpage and a confirmation e-mail will be sent your registered e-mail address. You will be able to retrieve and review your appliation under 'Panel Activity' on the website. Please note that once your application is submitted it can not be modified.

Panel enquiries

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