About duty lawyer services
Duty lawyer services are provided at a number of courts and tribunals across Victoria. Duty lawyers may be in-house staff or private lawyers we fund.
To ensure members of the public who need help from a duty lawyer receive high quality services, private duty lawyers are accredited by us. This is known as a rostered private practitioner duty lawyer scheme.
What duty lawyers do
Duty lawyers help people who are attending a court or tribunal hearing and who require assistance on the day. This service is free and can cover:
- child protection
- youth crime
- adult summary crime
- intervention orders
- family matters
- some civil matters, such as Mental Health Tribunal hearings.
Help provided by the duty lawyer depends on the person’s circumstances, and may include information, legal advice or representation in court. For , an income test applies to all accused not in custody.
How we manage the schemes
We expect duty lawyers to meet the standards of service outlined in the:
Private practitioner duty lawyer scheme to deal with conflicts
A pilot scheme has been introduced where private practitioners can work in summary crime, youth crime and family violence matters if the Victoria Legal Aid duty lawyer is unable to act due to a conflict of interest.
This scheme is operating in courts where we have not previously relied on private duty lawyers. It does not alter arrangements in place for existing rostered private practitioner duty lawyer schemes.
The director of Legal Practice is responsible for the administration of rostered private practitioner duty lawyer schemes.
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.
We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
Reviewed 27 December 2023