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Monitoring and compliance

Monitoring and compliance

The Legal Aid NSW Private Lawyer Quality Standards Unit (PLQSU) monitors the quality of legal aid work undertaken by panel law practices. A risk-based approach is undertaken in monitoring compliance with the Quality Standards and Service Agreement, using proactive (file reviews, regular reports and data analysis) and responsive (complaint investigations) monitoring tools.

Legal Aid NSW proactively supports law practices through training and other services made available to them as panel members. Where ongoing non-compliance is identified, the ultimate sanction will result in the removal of a law practice and/or individual legal practitioner from undertaking legal aid work.

How does Legal Aid NSW manage quality?

To ensure clients of Legal Aid NSW receive high quality legal representation, the PLQSU actively monitor the delivery and quality of work undertaken by panel law practices and individual legal practitioners. Legal Aid NSW will monitor quality and compliance with the Service Agreement and implement quality interventions where required.

Quality Standards

The Quality Standards (pdf 426KB) are contained in a single document consisting of the Practice Standards, Client Service Standards, Panel Requirements (Principal of a Law Practice and legal practitioner) and Law Practice Requirements.

The Quality Standards:

  • apply to all legal practitioners who undertake legal aid work
  • provide clarity on the quality of legal services they are expected to deliver when undertaking legal aid work
  • form part of the Law Practice’s obligations in accordance with the Service Agreement entered into upon appointment to panels.

Service agreement

The Service Agreement (pdf 330KB) (the Agreement) sets out the terms on which Legal Aid NSW and the Law Practice have agreed that the Law Practice and its associates will undertake legal aid work on a panel or panels for the provision of that legal aid work. The Agreement is made available to a Law Practice following a successful panel application and automatically terminates when the Law Practice ceases to be a panel member.

In undertaking the Agreement, the law practice agrees to ensure compliance with the Legal Aid Commission Act, 1979, the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW), the Quality Standards and Legal Aid NSW policies, guidelines and fee scales. The law practice must comply with any investigations and/or audits in relation to assigned legal aid work.

Duty Guidelines

Law practices may be eligible to participate in the Duty Solicitor Scheme where they are approved to undertake legal aid work on the relevant panel/s.

Legal practitioners undertaking duty solicitor scheme work must comply with the relevant duty guidelines established by Legal Aid NSW.

NOTE: Local Courts serviced by a Legal Aid NSW office utilise the Back Up Duty Scheme. Please see the Back Up Duty Scheme webpage for further information.

Grants Online

All staff working on legal aid matters within a Law Practice are required to comply with the Terms and conditions of use of Grants Online. These Terms and conditions provides information regarding:

  • Record keeping associated with legal aid applications,
  • Means test income and assets verification requirements,
  • Verifying Centrelink entitlements,
  • Document requirements to substantiate claims to Legal Aid NSW,
  • Security and confidentiality of usernames and passwords and
  • The updating of contact details.

It is important to note that law practices will be audited on compliance with the Terms and Conditions of use of Grants Online.

Removals process

Legal Aid NSW can remove a law practice from some or all panels, or deem associates at the law practice ineligible to undertake legal aid work.The grounds for removal are set out in Clause 10 and 11 of the Agreement.

The process for removal and/or deeming an associate ineligible to undertake legal aid work is detailed in the Removal Guidelines (pdf 208KB).