Practitioner standards and compliance

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 terms of those documents 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.

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 Profession Complaints Committee.

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.

 

Get help

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 6222.

Resources

 

Reviewed: 16 April 2018

Read our Private Practitioner Manual

All lawyers doing work on behalf of Legal Aid WA must comply with the Manual.

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.