Information for lawyers

Handy hints for youth crime lawyers

The Children and Justice Legislation (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017 was introduced in May and passed Parliament in September 2017. The legislation makes significant reforms to youth justice. The default commencement date for the reforms is 1 June 2018 but we expect a number of the reforms will come into operation before this date. We will ensure you have relevant updates and training to support you before commencement. In the meantime, did you know that:

Upcoming LIV Specialist Accreditation opportunities

The Law Institute of Victoria is offering specialist accreditation in the areas of criminal law and children’s law in 2018. We support lawyers undertaking work for legally aided clients to apply for specialist accreditation. We provide a practical study support program to help lawyers prepare themselves for the specialisation examinations. The support program includes facilitated study groups, professional legal education lectures and access to resources.

Guilty pleas and informing clients of non-court consequences

In addition to court penalties, demerit points and licence restrictions, clients who are pleading guilty to offences must be made aware of other potential consequences. A conviction, or a finding of guilt, may affect their future employment, their ability to obtain certain licences or even the option to remain in Australia.

Our new fact sheet, Pleading guilty – advising adult clients about non-court consequences, contains a non-exhaustive list of possible matters that may need to be discussed with a client before they plead guilty to offences.

Claimable thresholds increase

We have been working with our technology team to increase claim thresholds. These changes were approved in August and should see a reduction in the amount of matters being held up in the ATLAS work pool. The changes include auto-approval of the following before Victoria Legal Aid will need to make an assessment:

  • 2 x bail grants (each bail grant still needs to be requested)
  • 5 x plea days following trial
  • 8 x County Court mentions/call-overs.

Auto-certification of:

Revised Director of Public Prosecutions Policy available now

All the previous policy documents have now been retired and replaced by the single Policy of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Victoria.

This Director of Public Prosecutions Policy document is ‘living’ and it is recommended that you do not print copies. To read the policy in full, see the Office of Public Prosecutions Victoria website.

More information

For more information, see the Director of Public Prosecutions website.

Reminder about equitable charges

A signed legal aid application form assists in supporting good practice.

Signed aid application forms also provide the opportunity for you to advise your client about the standard conditions of a grant and any special conditions which may be imposed for that client, such as a contribution or equitable charge.

If you have an equitable charge condition imposed relating to your client’s grant of assistance, we need:

VLA welcomes new criminal trial preferred barristers

In early 2017, we welcomed five barristers to our criminal trial preferred barrister list. The list was established in July 2015 and includes members of the Victorian Bar and public defenders from VLA Chambers. Only barristers on the list can be briefed in legally aided criminal trials, unless an exception is granted in advance. There are currently 257 members.

Our new members include:

Further response to the practising certificate fees review

We responded to the Victoria Legal Services Board and Commissioner’s (LSBC) review of practising certificate fees in April 2017.

We share the view of many in the profession that regulatory costs should be kept to an efficient minimum. We think it is important to strike a balance between proper regulation, and the effect of regulatory cost on the profession and consumers.

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