Information for lawyers

Changes to ATLAS deliver direct payment to barristers

Changes have been made to ATLAS to enable direct payments to barristers by Victoria Legal Aid, once a private practitioner submits a claim through the ATLAS system and reassigns that claim to the barrister.

This change extends across all grants of legal assistance where a barrister is briefed.

This means private practitioners will no longer need to go through the process of receiving monies from Victoria Legal Aid and then on-paying them to barristers.

The change will also assist the flow of fee payments to barristers, as they will be direct from Victoria Legal Aid.

Annual indexation of legal aid fees

Victoria Legal Aid is increasing private practitioner fees by 1.4 per cent effective 1 January 2014. This increase is in line with the 1.4 per cent growth in our income in the last financial year.

The increase covers all private practitioner fees, namely both solicitor and counsel fees. The increase does not apply to associated disbursements such as medical reports and professional witnesses.

Indictable Crime Panel now open

Pursuant to section 29A of the Legal Aid Act 1978 (Vic), Victoria Legal Aid intends to appoint a new Indictable Crime Panel.

This new Indictable Crime Panel now includes a specialised Youth Crime Subset.

We invite expressions of interests from suitably qualified firms and practitioners.

Current Indictable Crime Panel members must apply by 30 November 2013 to be deemed interim members of the new panel, pending an assessment process.

Youth and adult summary crime compliance checks

On 8 April 2013, Victoria Legal Aid introduced changes to the eligibility guidelines for youth and adult summary criminal matters.

Over the coming months, we will be checking files with grants of assistance for these matters to ensure they comply with our funding guidelines.

These checks will also help lawyers working in busy practices ensure they are making appropriate recommendations for legal assistance.

Ensuring that our funding guidelines are applied correctly means that limited legal aid funding is directed to those most in need. 

Notice of changes to barrister payments – effective 1 September

From 1 September 2013 barristers will be paid directly by Victoria Legal Aid once a practitioner submits a bill for payment through the ATLAS system.

The change will reduce administration for private practitioners who will no longer have to go through the process of receiving payment from Victoria Legal Aid before paying barristers’ fees. It will also speed up payments to barristers. 

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