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Annual Report 2021 - 2022

Key activities of the board

The Board of Legal Aid NSW consists of 10 members including the Chair and the CEO of Legal Aid NSW. The members of the Board determine our broad policies and strategic priorities, and they monitor risks.

Meetings of the Board

The Board held six meetings in 2021–2022.

Engagement with committees

The Board is advised by the:

  • Legal Aid NSW Audit and Risk Committee, which advises on budgetary and internal audit matters, and other areas of organisational risk.
  • Closing the Gap Project Board, which monitors and guides our strategies to meet the socio-economic outcome targets under Closing the Gap.

Decisions of the Board 2021–2022

31 August 2021

  • Noted the impact of the 2019 changes to the contributions policy.
  • Noted the feedback arising from consultation on the Family Law Blueprint.
  • Acknowledged the actions completed against the strategic plan for the financial year 2020–2021.

26 October 2021

  • Approved the expansion of Extended Legal Assistance to coronial inquest matters.
  • Approved the introduction of a policy allowing representation in criminal contempt matters where there is a risk of gaol.

26 November 2021

  • Attended a strategic planning day with Executive staff members.

1 December 2021

  • Acknowledged the achievements of Brendan Thomas and extended best wishes in his new role responding to Closing the Gap.
  • Acknowledged the work of Annmarie Lumsden and congratulated her on her appointment to the role of Director, Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission.
  • Recognised the contributions made by Robyn Gray during her period of appointment to the Audit and Risk Committee.
  • Acknowledged the outstanding work by Brendan Thomas and Monique Hitter in response to COVID-19.
  • Approved the Fee Scale for High Risk Offender Matters (State) including higher fee rates where costs are recovered.
  • Approved changes to improve the efficiency of grants administration and the experience for clients and their lawyers, including:
    • funding Early Resolution Assistance (ERA)  for family law disputes
    • removing the means test for certain types of matters
    • developing a simplified means test for certain types of matters, and
    • introducing the standard merit test for Commonwealth family law matters.

22 February 2022

  • Approved the new fee scale and a change to the eligibility policy for High Risk Terrorist Offender matters (Commonwealth).
  • Approved the appointment of Leah Fricke to the Audit and Risk Committee.
  • Noted the results of the client satisfaction survey.
  • Noted the updated Sexual Harassment and Unacceptable Behaviour Policies.

26 April 2022

  • Approved the appointment of nominees to the Legal Aid Review Committee.
  • Noted current levels of cybersecurity.

28 June 2022

  • Approved an increase to family law fees for preparation in certain matters and noted possible alternate cost savings in family law matters.
  • Approved the Strategic Plan Year 5 Update for 2022–2023.
  • Noted the Closing the Gap Plan.
  • Noted a new Aboriginal employment partnership with Macquarie University and TAFE NSW.
  • Endorsed the actions set out in the Project Respect Plan presented to the Board in response to allegations of racism and passed a motion in support of the actions of the then-acting CEO on this issue.