Our practice standards

Our practice standards

Please note the content on this page is draft content for consultation purposes only. For current information, please see The practice standards.

About the standards – principle

Victoria Legal Aid’s (VLA's) practice standards apply to practitioners who are representing clients who have been granted legal assistance, as a condition of undertaking that work. These standards inform how VLA monitors the effective, economic and efficient delivery of high quality legal aid services.

The practice standards apply to any practitioner, including VLA staff practitioners undertaking work on legally aided matters. However, it is the Panel Certifier or the VLA staff practitioner certifying the matter, who is accountable for ensuring that the practice standards are met on a matter that they have certified.

These practice standards represent the minimum standards expected of practitioners doing work on a legally assisted matter. The standards are intended to ensure accountability for work done under a grant of legal assistance. These standards also aim to help clients understand what they can expect from their lawyer. For many practitioners, the practice standards will reflect the way they currently practice. VLA staff should read the standards with the understanding that they were initially drafted for use by private practitioners.

For measures that may be applied to meet these standards, including time frames, please refer to the relevant practice standard measures, linked to under each standard.

Why we have practice standards and what they cover

These practice standards supplement existing obligations for legal practitioners under relevant current legislation, regulation and rules governing the legal profession nationally and in Victoria.

There are three parts to these standards:

  • general practice standards applicable to all matters undertaken under a grant of legal assistance
  • specific practice standards applicable to different types of matters and specific client characteristics
  • firm practice standards applicable to all law firms undertaking legal aid work (not relevant to VLA staff).

Practitioners must meet the general practice standards, all specific practice standards relevant to the matter for which a grant of legal assistance is in place and to all applicable client characteristics, and the firm practice standards.

VLA staff should also note these are complemented by internal practice standards, such as briefing counsel, as well as other VLA policies and procedures.

VLA Practice standards

Practice resources

VLA lawyers have written a selection of materials including conference papers, articles, guides and checklists. These materials can be used as handy practice resources and references for other lawyers.

Contact

For more information, contact the Panels team.

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