Deloitte Chambers review – our response

Deloitte Chambers review – our response

Thursday, 5 March 2020

An external review has found Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) Chambers advocates provide valuable representation to our clients in courts and tribunals in all jurisdictions and in regional areas.

The review, by Deloitte, was a recommendation as part of the Victorian Government’s 2016 Access to Justice Review.

The review was extensive, looking at both the subjective experience of key internal and external stakeholders. It also compared VLA Chambers with Legal Aid Queensland and the Public Defenders’ Office NSW.

Our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Louise Glanville noted the size and composition of Chambers is appropriate for a mixed model legal aid advocacy service.

‘A comparison of other models in NSW and Queensland shows Chambers is of a comparable size; one major difference is that the complexity of serious indictable crime matters undertaken by our Chambers is greater than in other models,’ she said.

‘The review stated the role of VLA as funder and provider of legal-aided services does not impact advocates’ ability to act independently when providing services to VLA clients. Our advocates are bound by the same professional and ethical duties to their clients and the court as all other legal practitioners.’

Chambers offers collegiate support to VLA staff to develop their advocacy skills, increasing the skills and capacity of the staff practice. They also partner with external organisations to ensure better outcomes for legally aided clients.

‘We know Chambers offers valuable qualitative benefits to VLA such as organisation-wide mentoring, training and career opportunities for VLA staff, and guidance in strategic litigation and test cases – and I’m pleased this was highlighted as part of the review.’

The private Bar was found to be more cost effective in the review, noting that there were limitations related to available data which impact the interpretation of the cost effectiveness. These limitations are addressed as part of the recommendations.

‘There are currently significant data limitations which make it very difficult to do an extensive cost effectiveness assessment of the Chambers model,’ Louise said.

‘We acknowledge that our data collection systems will need to be significantly improved to implement the main recommendations and that this will require increased capability and the prioritising of resources.

‘The review was an important opportunity to gain a better understanding on how Chambers can improve the design and delivery of services based on improved data collection and evidence.

‘We have considered the review's recommendations and agree with them. We have summarised the fourteen key recommendations from the review and committed to nine key tasks to be implemented over two years.’ 

More information on the review

Read the Chambers review and our responses to the recommendations.

More about our Chambers

  • VLA Chambers is a part of the mixed model of legal service delivery.
  • VLA Chambers represents one per cent of the number of barristers currently practising in Victoria at the private Bar. Chambers undertake 7.4 per cent of the total criminal work, 22 per cent of civil work and 2.6 per cent of the family work briefed by VLA in Victoria. 
  • 62 per cent of advocates employed in our Chambers identify as female.

Learn more about our Chambers function.

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