Practitioner standards and compliance
This page contains the key documents for private practitioners who are members of Legal Aid WA panels or lists.
All practitioners on a Legal Aid WA panel or list must sign the Professional Services Agreement, which creates the broad framework for how private practitioners provide legal services under a grant of aid.
Practitioners on our panels and lists also agree to comply with different Legal Aid WA policies and guidelines, including the Private Practitioner Manual. The Manual explains the protocols for briefing other lawyers to appear on matters covered by a criminal or family law grant.
The terms of the PSA and Manual continue to apply at all times while a practitioner remains on any panel or list, and sit alongside the other obligations imposed on members of the legal profession.
Legal Aid WA may audit practitioners at any time to monitor their compliance with our standards, policies and guidelines, in accordance with our Audit and Compliance Policy.
Private practitioners who want to brief a duty lawyer to appear for a client, or who are hired to provide duty lawyer services for criminal matters in the Magistrates Court and Children’s Court, must follow the procedures in the Duty Lawyer Services Protocol.
The Guide to Claiming Payment provides detailed guidance about how to submit a claim for payment.
Private Practitioner Manual
The Manual is the best place to start if you are applying for, or have been assigned, a grant of aid. The Manual covers:
- submitting applications for a grant of aid, extension or transfer
- how grants of aid are assigned and accepted
- rights of reconsideration and review
- engaging other lawyers to provide legal services in matters assigned to you
- hiring experts
- practice and case management standards
- managing files, keeping records and providing progress reports, and
- practitioner payments, disbursements, client contributions and court costs.
Professional Services Agreement
The PSA gives a broad structure to how private practitioners engage with Legal Aid WA and provide legal services under a grant of aid.
Under the PSA, a practitioner agrees to:
- act honestly and in good faith when dealing with Legal Aid WA
- respond fully and promptly to our requests for information
- cooperate in our investigation or handling of a complaint against the practitioner
- participate in file audits for matters with a grant of aid, and
- allow Legal Aid WA to monitor and take action to address compliance issues.
The PSA also imposes some general professional standards on practitioners assigned grants of aid, including to:
- take responsibility for the performance of legal services
- act honestly, ethically and professionally
- treat all parties involved in a matter with dignity and respect
- provide legal services in an effective, efficient and economical manner, and
- comply with the practice and case management standards contained in the Manual.
Audit and Compliance Policy
This Policy explains the process involved when a private practitioner is audited by Legal Aid WA and describes the things we look for during an audit. The Policy also provides information about potential audit outcomes, which range from taking no action through to removal from a panel or list and referral to the Legal Practice Board of WA.
Duty Lawyer Services Protocol
The Protocol sets out the scope of the duty lawyer service Legal Aid WA provides for criminal and some traffic matters in the Magistrates and Children’s Courts.
From time-to-time, we engage private practitioners to cover gaps in our duty lawyer rosters. Private practitioners who are hired to provide duty lawyer services must comply with the Protocol.
Private practitioners who want to brief the duty lawyer to appear in court for their client (whether or not they have a grant of aid), must follow the procedure described in the Protocol.
Guide to Claiming Payment
This document provides detailed guidance about how to submit a claim for payment. More information is available in the section on Managing grants of aid.
The current membership of each panel and list can be checked by looking at our Practitioner panels and lists.
If you have questions about audits, our policies or your obligations when providing legal services under a grant of aid, contact our Professional Standards and Compliance Unit by email or telephone (08) 9261 6543.
- Professional Services Agreement
- Private Practitioner Manual
- Request for non-panel member to appear - Criminal matters
- Request for non-panel member to appear - Family matters
- Audit and Compliance Policy
- Duty Lawyer Services Protocol
- Guide to Claiming Payment
- Audit Information Sheet - April 2023
Reviewed: 16 April 2018