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Service agreement update

This web page provides sets out the upcoming updates made to the Legal Aid NSW Service Agreement.

Version 3 - effective from 17 November 2022

Section / Clause NumberDetails

Background

Clause A [Update]

Legal aid may be provided by Legal Aid NSW by such means as it may determine as set out in section 11 of the Act
1 Definitions and Interpretation

Definitions

Clause 1.1 [Update]

Associate means “associate” as defined by the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW), namely a person who is one or more of the following:

  • a principal of the Law Practice
  • a partner or employee of the Law Practice
  • a legal practitioner who is a consultant to the Law Practice

The term ‘associate’ includes nominated and delegated associates as defined in this agreement.

Legal aid work means:

  • legal services provided to a legally assisted person including any court appearance under a grant of legal aid
  • duty work

1 Definitions and Interpretation

Definitions

Clause 1.1 [New]

Delegated Associate means a lawyer at the Law Practice who does not satisfy the individual requirements of a panel but satisfies the requirements to be delegated legal aid work.

Nominated Associate means a lawyer at the Law Practice nominated by the Principal to undertake legal aid work who satisfies the individual requirements of a panel and has been approved by Legal Aid NSW.

Privacy Legislations means the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) and the Health Records Information and Privacy Act 2002 (NSW)

Clause 1.5 [New]The parties acknowledge and agree that nothing in the Agreement creates any employment, partnership, agency or joint venture relationship between the parties.
Clause 1.6 [New]A party does not have the authority to bind the other party or incur any liability or make any representation on behalf of the other party.
Clause 2.1 [Update]This Agreement commences on the date of its execution (whether physically or electronically) by both parties.
Clause 3.1.2 [Update]The Law Practice must ensure that Associates undertaking legal aid work comply with:

3.1.2 the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and the Legal Profession Conduct Rules
Clause 3.1.5 [New]The Law Practice must ensure that Associates undertaking legal aid work comply with:

3.1.5 policies and guidelines for Panel Members, and
Clause 3.1.6 [New]The Law Practice must ensure that Associates undertaking legal aid work comply with:

3.1.6 the Legal Aid NSW policies and guidelines stipulated by Legal Aid NSW, as they apply to employees, to the extent that such policies can apply to a solicitor in private practice.
Clause 3.2.4 [Update]Without limiting clause 3.1.4, the Law Practice must take reasonably practicable steps to:

3.2.4 notify Legal Aid NSW immediately of any health and safety Notifiable Incidents arising from the performance of legal aid work. Notifications are to be sent to PLQS@legalaid.nsw.gov.au
Clause 3.3 [Update]The Law Practice must ensure that only nominated Associates undertake legal aid work except where delegated Associates are permitted in accordance with the Quality Standards or prior approval is obtained from Legal Aid NSW.
Clause 3.4 [New]The Law Practice must ensure that only the Principal and Nominated Associates exercise the delegation to determine applications for legal aid under s34 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW).
Clause 3.5 [Update]The Law Practice must facilitate investigations and/or audits in relation to any legal aid work assigned to the Law Practice or Associates undertaking legal aid work.
Clause 5.4.4 [New]The Law Practice must:

5.4.4 comply with the Terms and Conditions of Use of Grants Online
Clause 5.5.1 [Update]The Law Practice must immediately notify Legal Aid NSW in writing if:

5.5.1 a nominated Associate leaves the Law Practice.
Clause 5.5.2 [Update]The Law Practice must immediately notify Legal Aid NSW in writing if:

5.5.2 an Associate who undertakes legal aid work is convicted of or charged with any of the Disqualifying Offences set out in Schedule 2 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 and is or will be providing legal services in any assigned matter to a person under the age of 18.
Clause 5.5.3 [Update]

The Law Practice must immediately notify Legal Aid NSW in writing if:

5.5.3 an Associate who undertakes legal aid work has a working with children check clearance refused, cancelled, revoked or interim barred.

Clause 5.5.5 [Update]The Law Practice must immediately notify Legal Aid NSW in writing if:

5.5.5 an Associate who undertakes legal aid work: is charged with any criminal offences except traffic offences that are not major traffic offences as defined in section 4 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW); or is subject to a final Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) under Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 NSW or equivalent across Australian States or Territories.
Clause 5.5.9 [New]

The Law Practice must immediately notify Legal Aid NSW in writing if:

5.5.9 the Law Practice entity or ABN changes or if the Law Practice will be wound up or merged with another Law Practice.

Clause 10.1.5 [New]Legal Aid NSW may remove a Law Practice as a Panel member from a Panel or all Panels if:

10.1.5 the Law Practice fails to comply with Panel conditions, limitations or restrictions imposed by the Law Practice under clause 11.4.3.
Clause 10.2 [New]Legal Aid NSW may deem an Associate ineligible to undertake legal aid work if the Associate does not meet the individual requirements for the relevant Panel or fails to meet any other requirement under this Service Agreement for eligibility to be on a Panel.
Clause 10.3 [Previously 10.2 - Update]Before Legal Aid NSW removes a Law Practice from the Panel or deems an Associate ineligible, unless that removal is at the request of the Law Practice, Legal Aid NSW will give the Law Practice 14 days to provide written submissions in response to the notice.
Clause 11.2.9 [New]In addition to any other power, Legal Aid NSW may remove a Law Practice from one or more Panels or deem an Associate ineligible to undertake legal aid work, if, in the reasonable opinion of Legal Aid NSW, the Law Practice or its Associate has:

11.2.9 otherwise breached any terms of this Agreement.
Clause 11.4.7 [Update]If the Law Practice fails to respond to the clause 11.3 notice to the satisfaction of Legal Aid NSW, Legal Aid NSW may take any of the following actions:

11.4.7 take any such further action it considers appropriate, including taking no further action.
Clause 11.5 [New]There is no internal right of review in relation to an action taken under this clause.
Clause 11.6 [New]Legal Aid NSW will ordinarily refuse an application by a Law Practice that has been removed from a Legal Aid NSW Panel or by an Associate deemed ineligible to undertake legal aid work where the application is made within three years of the decision by Legal Aid NSW to remove the Law Practice or where the Associate has been deemed ineligible, but will consider any special circumstances which may arise in respect of a particular application.
Clause 14.1 [Previously 14 - Update]The Law Practice must, when it collects, uses or discloses personal information in the course of undertaking legal aid work, comply with the Privacy Legislation, relating to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information that applies to Legal Aid NSW as if the Law Practice was subject to those laws.
Clause 14.2 [New]The Law Practice agrees to comply with any direction of Legal Aid NSW in respect of compliance with the Privacy Legislation.
Clause 14.3 [New]Where a Party becomes aware of any breach or possible breach of this clause, that Party must immediately notify the other Party of the breach. For the avoidance of doubt, a breach by a party under this clause constitutes a breach of this Agreement.
15 Confidentiality [New]New section
Clause 15.1 [New]Subject to clause 15.2, each party agrees not to disclose the confidential information of the other party without the prior written approval of such other party.
Clause 15.2 [New]A party may disclose the confidential information of the other party to the extent that the confidential information is:

15.2.1 Reasonably required by any persons performing obligations in relation to the Agreement;

15.2.2 Already in the public domain; or

15.2.3 Authorised or required by law to be disclosed.
Clause 15.3 [New]Where a Party becomes aware of any breach or possible breach of this clause, that Party must immediately notify the other Party of the breach. For the avoidance of doubt, a breach by a party under this clause constitutes a breach of this Agreement.
16 Notice [New]New section
Clause 16.1 [New]Any notice to or by a party under this Agreement must be in writing and signed by an authorised officer of the sender.
Clause 16.2 [New]Any notice to the Law Practice must be sent to the email address as nominated by the Law Practice in the Law Practice’s panel application form and as per Grants Online.  Any notice to Legal Aid NSW must be sent to  PLQS@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or any other email address as notified by Legal Aid NSW from time to time.
Clause 16.3 [New]A notice will be regarded as given and received:

16.3.1 if delivered by email, when sent to the addressee’s nominated email address;

16.3.2 if delivered by hand when delivered to the addressee;

16.3.3 if sent by post, three (3) business days from and including the date of postage.
17 Insurance and IndemnityNew section
Clause 17.1 [New]The Parties to this Agreement are individually responsible for ensuring that the appropriate professional indemnity and public liability insurance is held and maintained to cover the liability under this Agreement.
Clause 17.2 [New]Each party will produce evidence of professional indemnity and public liability insurance if requested.
18 General New section
Clause 18.1 [New]This Agreement will be governed by and construed according to the laws of New South Wales and the parties agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the Courts of that State.
Clause 18.2 [New]The Agreement represents the entire agreement between the parties and supersedes all prior representations, communications, agreements, statements and understandings, whether oral or in writing.

Compliance

Legal Aid NSW may audit Panel Law Practices for compliance with the Service Agreement. It is therefore important that the Principal of the Panel Law Practice has read and understands their responsibility under the Service Agreement.

Contact

For any further enquiries about the Quality Standards, contact the Private Lawyer Quality Standards Unit at panels@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.