Victoria Legal Aid

Updated summary crime guidelines to launch in March 2024

The guidelines for duty lawyer and Help Before Court services have been updated to better support clients and staff.

Tuesday 6 February 2024 3:49am

From 1 March 2024, we will implement updated summary crime guidelines for our duty lawyer and Help Before Court services.

The guidelines set out the level of service we provide people seeking legal assistance for summary crime charges.

Our staff and panel practitioners use the guidelines to assess what help we can provide to a person, for example if the person is eligible to speak with a lawyer or receive in-court advocacy.

The guidelines now cover both our at-court and pre-court service models and are better aligned with our organisational priorities and policies. In particular, the guidelines reflect our Strategy 26, the Outcomes Framework, the Client Priority and Capability Policy.

The guideline updates create more certainty when triaging help seekers to see a lawyer.

They also provide specific priorities for our pre-court service, including that First Nation people are prioritised for an appointment to speak with a lawyer before court.

We are sharing the guidelines in information sessions for private practitioners and in-house staff throughout February. We will publish the updated guidelines ahead of their implementation in March.

More information

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Reviewed 06 February 2024