Private practitioner duty lawyers

Private practitioner duty lawyers

We provide duty lawyer services at a number of courts and tribunals across Victoria. Duty lawyers may be in-house staff or private lawyers we fund.

To ensure members of the public who need help from a duty lawyer receive high quality services, private duty lawyers are accredited by us.

When we arrange accredited lawyers to provide duty lawyer services on a regular basis at a particular location this is known as a rostered private practitioner duty lawyer scheme.

What duty lawyers do

Duty lawyers help people who are attending a court or tribunal hearing and have not had the chance to see a lawyer beforehand. This service is free and can cover:

  • child protection
  • youth crime
  • adult summary crime
  • intervention orders
  • family matters
  • some civil matters, such as Mental Health Tribunal hearings.

Help provided by the duty lawyer depends on the person’s circumstances, and may include information, legal advice or representation in court. For duty lawyer services for adult criminal offences, an income test applies to all accused not in custody.

How we manage the schemes

Each rostered private practitioner duty lawyer scheme has a co-ordinator who may be from one of our offices or an approved private firm in the region.

To become a duty lawyer, private practitioners must meet the criteria for accreditation. The co-ordinator must also identify a need to increase the number of duty lawyers in the region.

We expect duty lawyers to meet the standards of service outlined in the:

Pilot private practitioner duty lawyer scheme to deal with conflicts

A pilot scheme has been introduced where private practitioners can work in summary crime, youth crime and family violence matters if the Victoria Legal Aid duty lawyer is unable to act due to a conflict of interest.

This scheme is operating in courts where we have not previously relied on private duty lawyers. It does not alter arrangements in place for existing rostered private practitioner duty lawyer schemes.

For more information see Pilot private practitioner duty lawyer scheme to deal with conflicts.

Contact us

The Executive Director, Legal Practice is responsible for the administration of rostered private practitioner duty lawyer schemes.

Enquiries and issues can be addressed to:

Michelle Tickner, Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, Legal Practice
Email: michelle.tickner@vla.vic.gov.au