New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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Duties to be observed in the provision of legal aid

12 Duties to be observed in the provision of legal aid

In respect of the provision of legal aid, the Commission shall:

(a) ensure that legal aid is provided in the most effective, efficient and economical manner,
(b) have regard to the need for legal aid to be readily available and easily accessible to disadvantaged persons throughout New South Wales,
(c) ascertain and keep under review community needs in relation to legal aid,
(d) liaise with professional bodies representing private legal practitioners and, where appropriate, use the services of private legal practitioners in the provision of legal aid,
(e) determine the allocation of legal aid services between the Chief Executive Officer or members of staff of the Commission and private legal practitioners and the principles on which private legal practitioners are to be offered or refused matters on assignment,
(f) ensure, if work is assigned to a private legal practitioner, that the assignment is made in accordance with principles determined from time to time by the Commission and after consideration of the following:
(i) the interests of the legally assisted person,
(ii) any choice expressed by the legally assisted person for a particular private legal practitioner,
(iii) the fair and reasonable distribution of work among private legal practitioners who are appointed to the relevant panel under Division 2 of Part 3,
and that the principles so determined by the Commission are publicly notified or available on request,
(g) ensure, by the assignment of appropriate work, the maintenance of the office of the Public Defenders,
(h) ensure the co-ordination of legal aid services and the avoidance of any unnecessary duplication in the provision of legal aid services,
(i) ensure that, except where otherwise expressly provided by this Act, nothing is done by the Commission, the Chief Executive Officer or members of staff of the Commission which may interfere with the relationship between a solicitor acting in the solicitor’s professional capacity and the solicitor’s client, and
(j) have regard to the desirability of enabling members of staff of the Commission to use and develop their expertise by undertaking, as far as is reasonably practicable, a full range of professional legal work.

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