Victoria Legal Aid

Duty lawyers in the Family Division of the Children's Court (child protection matters)

We fund duty lawyer services for parents and children in the Family Division of the Children's Court.

Duty lawyer services help people (parties) on the day of a court hearing where they have not made prior arrangements to have a lawyer. The help available may include legal information, legal advice and/or in-court advocacy depending on the party and the type of hearing.

Duty lawyer services are free and no proof of income is required.

Duty lawyers may be Victoria Legal Aid staff, private lawyers, or lawyers from a Community Legal Centre or Aboriginal legal service.

Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines

From 25 March 2019, new Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines must be applied by all VLA child protection lawyers, community legal centres and private practitioners delivering child protection duty lawyer services at Children’s Court (Family Division) locations across Victoria.

The guidelines set out:

  • the different types of services to be delivered by the child protection duty lawyer service
  • the eligibility criteria for the child protection duty service.

Download and read the Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines (pdf, 171.35 KB) or the accessible Word version (139.74 KB).

Child Protection Duty Lawyer Services Manual

This manual sets out processes for the management and delivery of VLA-funded duty lawyer services to people involved in child protection proceedings across Victoria.

This includes processes for intake and referral of parties, and expectations of lawyers delivering duty lawyer services.

The processes in this manual are to be applied state wide, to provide consistency and transparency, and help people to get the assistance they need.

Duty lawyer services delivered by private practitioners

To deliver child protection duty lawyer services, private practitioners must be Individual Certifiers on the s29A Child Protection and Family Violence Panels and approved members of a Private Practitioner Short Service Scheme.

Read about payments and records management for Children’s Court Family Division private practitioner duty lawyers.

Practice resources for lawyers

View practice resources for Child protection in the Family Division of the Children’s Court.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 07 February 2023