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6. Legal Aid Review Committee Appeals

6.7. Officer advising Legal Aid Review Committee

6.7.1 Role of officer

In addition to a member of the Secretariat attending Legal Aid Review Committee meetings, one Legal Aid NSW officer must also attend each of the meetings of the Legal Aid Review Committee.

The role of the attending Legal Aid NSW officer is to:

  • advise on the current policies and procedures of Legal Aid NSW
  • assist the Committee in making valid determinations
  • assist the Legal Aid Review Committee Secretariat by ensuring material before the Committee is complete and up to date.

Reading the agenda

Before attending a meeting the officer must read the Committee's agenda to identify matters where the Committee may require assistance.

For example the officer should note the following:

Hearing dates

If the hearing date has passed or is immediately after the Committee meeting, it is imperative that the officer contacts the person who prepared the report to the Committee.

The officer must ascertain:

  • whether the matter has concluded, or
  • the degree of urgency.

Content of material

If a report to the Review Committee does not address issues which are:

  • relevant, or
  • have been raised by an appellant

the officer is to:

  • review the legal aid file, and
  • if necessary, to clarify any issues, contact the person who prepared the report.

Incorrect application of policy

If the person determining the application has applied the wrong policy or means test the file is to be returned to the Grants Division for the matter to be reconsidered based on the correct policy or means test.

Result of enquiries

The officer is to advise:

  • the Legal Aid Review Committee Secretariat before the meeting, or
  • the Committee in the course of the meeting

the result of any enquiries carried out.

Independence of the Legal Aid Review Committee

Natural justice

If Legal Aid NSW officer acts in a way that affects the decision of a Legal Aid Review Committee, the determination by the Committee could be set aside by a court because of a denial of natural justice to the appellant: see Automatic Ticket Research v Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales(1991) 22 ALD 590.

Legal Aid NSW officers must take care not to prejudice the independence of the Committee. Generally, the officer is to confine participation in discussion to:

  • answering question and assisting the members on the application of the policy
  • providing additional material or information, and
  • assisting the Committee to prepare a resolution in accordance with its intentions.

Questions

If a Legal Aid NSW officer has any queries about:

  • their duties, or
  • a particular matter

the officer should contact the Solicitor to Legal Aid NSW or the Legal Policy Branch.

Unable to attend meetings

If an officer is unable to attend, they are to arrange for another officer to attend.




Date Last Published: 19/01/2010