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Indictable criminal law panel

This webpage provides information for solicitors who wish to apply for appointment to the Indictable Criminal Law Panel (the panel) for the representation of defendants in non-complex indictable criminal matters (i.e. strictly indictable matters or matters where an election is made) throughout NSW.

The panel will generally only be open to solicitors with a minimum 2 years post admission experience appearing in criminal law matters.

Current panel members on the General Criminal Law Panel (which will be renamed to the ‘Summary Criminal Law Panel’) and the Serious Criminal Law Panel (which will be renamed to ‘Complex Criminal Law Solicitor Panel’) will need to apply for appointment to undertake work covered by this new panel.

About the panel

The Early Appropriate Guilty Plea (EAGP) reform commenced on 30 April 2018. The reform will result in a fundamental change to the way indictable criminal matters are dealt with in the Local Court.

The primary objective of the EAGP reform is to ensure that where a plea of guilty is appropriate, that plea is entered as early as possible, ideally in the Local Court. Mandatory sentencing discounts under the reform will incentivise the timing of the plea at an early stage.

Formal negotiations held with a view to encouraging early guilty pleas in appropriate cases will be facilitated by a mandatory case conferencing scheme at the Local Court stage.

There will be a significant change to the nature and extent of the work done by defence lawyers in indictable criminal matters at the Local Court stage. Further, there will be significant consequences for a client who is not adequately advised and represented at this stage of proceedings. As a result of the reform, Legal Aid NSW is establishing a new panel for solicitors who represent defendants in non-complex indictable criminal matters pursuant to a grant of legal aid.

This panel will apply to non-complex indictable matters in the following jurisdictions:

  • Local Court Committals
  • District Court Sentences
  • District Court Trials

Summary criminal matters and District Court appeals will be assiged to members of the Summary Criminal Law Panel.

Matters falling within the definition of a complex criminal matter will be assigned to panel solicitors appointed Complex Criminal Law Solicitor Panel.

A barrister may be briefed by a panel solicitor in appropriate matters subject to Legal Aid NSW policies and prior approval.

Counsel briefed to appear in a criminal matter at case conferencing will retain the matter for either sentence or trial once it is committed to the District Court.

Requests by solicitors to appear in District Court trials as Solicitor Advocate will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Senior Grants Criminal Law Solicitor. In those circumstances, they will be required to address individual circumstances including their prior trial experience.

Grants of legal aid in criminal law matters

Appointment to the panel does not confer an entitlement to work. Grants are assigned in accordance with the Legal Aid NSW Grants Allocation Guidelines.

Only a very limited number of offers are made via Grants Online for the assignment of legal aid matters to panel lawyers. This is because most matters are allocated either to the Legal Aid NSW Criminal Law Division or the panel lawyer who submitted the legal aid application on behalf of the client.

Offers that are made via Grants Online are usually matters that are not able to be conducted by the Criminal Law Division and where the initial application was not submitted online by a panel lawyer.

Fee rates

Panel lawyers are paid at legal aid rates as notified from time to time and in accordance with Legal Aid NSW policy.

Panel information package

Applicants should carefully consider all documents contained in the information package before submitting an application.

To view the documents in the information package, you will need  Adobe Acrobat Reader .

Application form availability and due dates

Applications must be lodged via the Panels Application Website. Application form availability and due dates can be viewed on the panel schedule webpage.


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