Exemptions to entry requirements for the Independent Children’s Lawyer Panel

Exemptions to entry requirements for the Independent Children’s Lawyer Panel

The entry requirements for Victoria Legal Aid’s section 29A Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) Panel are designed to cover the skills and capacity we believe are necessary for an ICL to provide high quality representation. However, we recognise that some aspects of the entry requirements may be difficult for practitioners to meet under some circumstances and in some rural areas.

The exemptions are designed to allow some flexibility to the entry requirements to ensure adequate regional coverage and that good practitioners are not excluded unnecessarily, where allowing an exemption will not compromise the overall quality of representation for clients.

Exemptions are only available for individual practitioners. No exemptions are available for firms.

Find out about:

Common exemptions

Common exemptions are available to all applicants who meet the eligibility criteria for that exemption (though an application with a request for multiple common exemptions may be considered unfavourably).

Common exemptions apply to the following requirements (to download the ICL individual entry requirements go to Forms):

Requirement 2

  • Aspect of requirement: five years’ experience
  • Exemption eligibility: available to applicants who have had five years’ experience but not all of the experience was gained recently due to parental or other extended leave
  • Exemption condition(s): applicant must have had five years’ experience, including the equivalent of at least 30 per cent of a full-time workload doing family law work in matters involving children’s issues, within the previous seven years.
  • Alternative options: if leave was longer than two years within the previous seven, practitioners can request a special circumstances exemption, where special circumstances exist, or wait until they have had enough experience to apply.

Requirement 4

  • Aspect of requirement: 24-month timeframe
  • Exemption eligibility: rural practitioners, parental or other extended leave
  • Exemption condition(s): applicant must submit written outlines of matters meeting the specified criteria from within the last 36 months in the application
  • Alternative options: ineligible practitioners can wait until they have had carriage of enough complex matters to apply.

Requirement 5

  • Aspect of requirement: 12-month timeframe
  • Exemption eligibility: parental or other extended leave
  • Exemption condition(s): applicant must submit written outlines related to sample matters meeting the specified criteria from within the last 24 months in the application
  • Alternative options: ineligible practitioners can wait until they have had carriage of enough matters meeting the requirements to apply.

Requirement 7

  • Aspect of requirement: undertake advocacy training run by Victoria Legal Aid the first time it is offered after inclusion on the panel
  • Exemption eligibility: parental or other extended leave covering the date training is first offered
  • Exemption condition(s): bridging, until next offered training session. Applicant must then complete the next offered session.

Special circumstances exemptions

Special circumstances exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account relevant factors, including the need for geographical coverage.

Applicants who do not meet all the entry requirements but who are practising in a geographical area with limited coverage by legal aid service providers are encouraged to apply for a special circumstances exemption.

If a special circumstances exemption is granted, Victoria Legal Aid will stipulate the condition(s) of the exemption. Conditions for a special circumstance exemption will be decided on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the applicant.

Special circumstances exemptions are unique to individual applications and, as such, do not create a precedent for other practitioners or future applications.

Requesting exemptions

Exemptions for individual practitioners can be requested at Part 9 of the Independent Children’s Lawyer Panel application form, which can be downloaded on the Forms page.

Before requesting an exemption, applicants are expected to self-assess whether they may be eligible. In self-assessing, consider the following:

  1. Is there a common exemption available for that requirement?
  2. Am I eligible for that exemption?
  3. If I am eligible, am I willing and able to accept and meet the conditions of the exemption? Or, if I am not eligible, do special circumstances apply in my case?

If your self-assessment indicates that you are not eligible for an exemption, you should consider whether you wish to apply for inclusion on the panel at a later stage, when you will no longer require the exemption. Or, if special circumstances apply in your case, whether you wish to apply for a special circumstances exemption.

No exemptions are available for firms.

For further information about exemptions, see Frequently asked questions.

More information

If you would like more information, please contact:

Panels Co-ordinator
Email: panels@vla.vic.gov.au  
Phone: (03) 9269 0644