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7. Representation

7.2. Determining requests for reassignment of criminal matters

7.2.1 Criteria to be considered when making a determination to assign a criminal matter

The determining officer will take into consideration:

  • the reasons for the request for reassignment which have been provided by the client and in particular if there are exceptional circumstances
  • the amount of work which has been carried out by the original practitioner
  • the amount of costs and disbursements expended by Legal Aid NSW to date in the matter, and
  • the stage of proceedings.

The determining office will consult with the original practitioner to assess their willingness to continue to act for the legally aided person.

7.2.2 Procedure when assignment of matter is approved

The determining officer will:

  • request that the original practitioner to report to Legal Aid NSW on the progress of the case, including:
    • advising Legal Aid NSW on the merit of continued assistance
    • submitting an account for work done before the withdrawal of instructions, and
    • retaining the file until the Commission authorises the transfer of both the file and the grant of assistance,
  • request that the new legal practitioner:
    • accept the transfer of the grant on its current terms and conditions, and
    • if necessary, make the file available to Legal Aid NSW to cost the work of the original practitioner.

7.2.3 Transfer of file

The determining officer will advise the client and practitioners that the transfer of the client's file must be arranged between the original legal practitioner and the new legal practitioner

7.2.4 Retaining counsel

Legal Aid NSW will expect the client to retain the same counsel wherever possible.

7.2.5 Instructions for legal practitioners

The determining officer must request notification in writing from the original practitioner if a matter is to be adjourned or the client is seeking to stay the proceedings.

Date Last Published: 1/07/2010