Payments and records management for private practitioner duty lawyers in the Family Division of the Children’s Court

Payments and records management for private practitioner duty lawyers in the Family Division of the Children’s Court

Private practitioners are paid for duty lawyer services as allocated by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) or in accordance with a rostered commitment to do so at the applicable rate set out in the Fees section upon submission of a claim.

Making a claim

To make a claim you must be a s29a child protection panel practitioner (which means you both work in a firm on the panel and are either an individual panel certifier yourself or are supervised by an individual certifier).

By signing the invoice you are declaring that all details are complete and correct as well as other matters, including:

  • you were either rostered or allocated to deliver duty lawyer services on that date
  • a duty lawyer record (DLR) has been completed for each appearance noted on the tax invoice under duty lawyer services performed
  • you agree to retain and manage the DLRs in accordance with the requirements sets out in Records management for private practitioner duty lawyers.

Submit your claim within 30 days, with a certificate of authorisation signed by the VLA officer confirming the allocation and return to the reporting office.

Incorrect or incomplete invoices will be returned to you unpaid for correction or completion.

Fees

From 1 January 2017 the fees payable to rostered private practitioner duty lawyers are

  • $154 (GST inclusive) per hour not exceeding $386 if only one matter is allocated
  • $154 (GST inclusive) per hour not exceeding $770 for two or more matters allocated
  • Payments are rounded off to the nearest quarter hour.

For rostered duty lawyers in Melbourne, Moorabbin and Broadmeadows Family Division of the Children’s Court, the time payment commences from the time of referral of the first client.  At other courts, the time payment commences from the time of arrival at court to meet the client. 

Records management for private practitioner duty lawyers

You are required to complete a duty lawyer record for each service noted on the tax invoice.

We comply with our obligations under the Public Records Act 1973. These obligations extend to all Victoria Legal Aid contractors, including private and community legal service practitioners who are funded to perform duty lawyer services.

Accordingly you must retain these records for:

  • 25 years from the date of action for child clients
  • seven years from the date of action for other clients.

You do not need to attach these records to your claim.

Records should be stored in date order, with records for child clients stored separately.

Records must be stored and destroyed in accordance with your obligation to maintain client confidentiality at all times.

Substantiating your claims

We will inspect nominated duty lawyer records from time to time to verify claims.

Contact us

For enquiries and issues, contact Child Protection Program Manager Lucia Danek via Lucia.Danek@vla.vic.gov.au