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Applying to a panel

Applying to a panel page header

Panel applications from new law practices are now welcome.

Law practices that did not transition to the new panel structure can apply as a new law practice.

In order to undertake Legal Aid NSW work law practices and/or barristers are required to be a panel member on the relevant panel/s.

The panel application process is a single application form that is completed by the principal/nominated principal of a law practice or barrister (the applicant). The applicant nominates all panels in which their law practice will undertake legal aid work, and where the individual requirements of the nominated panel/s are met.

An applicant can nominate legal practitioners employed at the law practice to undertake work covered by the panel/s as long as they meet the individual requirements of the panel/s.

Grants online registration

All legal practitioners undertaking legal aid work (including any delegated work) are required to have a Grants Online user registration. All registrations must be completed prior to submitting the panel application form.

Go to Grants Online to register a new law practice.

If your law practice is already registered for Grants Online, your designated administrator can add/edit users and reset passwords. Should you require assistance please contact the Service Desk at servicedesk@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or (02) 9219 5999.

For legal practitioners changing law practices please email the Service Desk at servicedesk@legalaid.nsw.gov.au to update your existing Grants Online registration.

All applicants are required to comply with Legal Aid NSW Quality Standards. The Quality Standards form part of the law practices’ obligations in accordance with the service agreement. Non-compliance can result in the removal of a law practice from a panel, some panels, all panels or deem a legal practitioner within the law practice ineligible to undertake legal aid work.

  1. Who can apply?

    The principal or the nominated principal of a law practice (on behalf of their employees) or barrister can only submit an application for appointment to Legal Aid NSW panels.

    All legal practitioners must hold a current Australian Practising Certificate.

    Legal practitioners who are not in private practice or are employed by a Community Legal Centre (CLC) or the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) cannot apply for appointment to a panel.

  2. How to apply

    To submit a panel application go to the Panels Application Website and use your Grants Online username and password to log in.

    Only a principal, nominated principal of a law practice or barrister can submit a panel application.

    Before commencing the panel application form ensure that ALL legal practitioners who will be undertaking legally aided matters are registered for Grants Online.

    Prior to applying you can view the application questions here (PDF 245Kb).

  3. What happens after I submit an application?

    Once the application form is submitted it is considered on the information provided and information made available to Legal Aid NSW within 21 days.

    The Principal or nominated Principal of a Law Practice (on behalf of their employees) or Barrister will receive notification as to the outcome of the application and/or details on how to execute the service agreement.

    If the application cannot be finalised within 21 days, Private Lawyer Quality Standards Unit (PLQSU) will contact the applicant and provide regular updates on the progress and when a likely outcome will be provided.

    There is no right of appeal to Legal Aid NSW where a law practice is refused appointment to a panel or where an associate is deemed ineligible to undertake legal aid work. Where refused, a law practice may reapply after six months.

  4. How can my law practice update our membership?

    A Law Practice Panel Member may apply to Legal Aid NSW for approval for another Associate to carry out legal aid work during the term of their Service Agreement. However, an Associate must not commence legal aid work until Legal Aid NSW has provided written approval as per clause 12.2 of the panel Service Agreement.

    Can my Law Practice be included on an additional Panel?

    Yes.

    Subject to there being an Associate at the Law Practice who meets the Individual Requirements for that panel.

    Can I nominate additional Associates to do work on a panel that my Law Practice is a member on?

    Yes.

    Subject to the Associate meeting the Individual Requirements for that panel.

    How do I update my membership?

    The Principal, nominated principal of the Law Practice or barrister (the original applicant) is required to complete the Update Membership Form (docx 77KB). Please forward the form by email to panels@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.

    The update membership request will be assessed and determined within 21 days from the date of receipt. The outcome of the request will be emailed to the original applicant.

  5. What do I need to do once I am on a Panel?

    Panel members (the law practice) are required to comply with Legal Aid NSW Quality Standards. This document contains the:

    • Practice Standards;
    • Client Service Standards;
    • Panel Requirements (Principal of a Law Practice and Individual); and
    • Law Practice Requirements.

    The Quality Standards apply to ALL legal practitioners undertaking legal aid work. Legal Aid NSW will monitor the delivery and quality of legal aid work in accordance with the Quality Standards and the law practice’s obligations in accordance with the Service Agreement.

    Legal practitioners who meet the individual requirements for the following panels must complete the following CPD units each year:

    • Care and Protection Panel – representing children (5 units)
    • Independent Children’s Lawyers Panel – representing children (5 units)
    • Indictable Criminal Law Panel – criminal law (5 units)
    • Children’s Criminal Law Panel – representing children and/or advocacy (5 units).

Panel enquiries

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