Legal Aid NSW is planning to implement two specialist panels of barristers, one for complex criminal law matters and one for criminal appellate matters. The panels will be open to junior counsel only.ï¿½ Senior counsel may continue to be briefed in these matters subject to Legal Aid approval. Solicitors will usually only be permitted to brief junior counsel appointed to the panels in matters covered by the panels.ï¿½ Barristers will be required to submit an application for appointment to both panels that addresses certain criteria and selection will be based on merit.ï¿½
It is anticipated that membership to the complex criminal law panel will be capped at 50 barristers.ï¿½ The appointment period will be between two and five years.ï¿½ Twelve months after the panel becomes operational, Legal Aid NSW will liaise with the NSW Bar Association and the Law Society of NSW regarding any changes to membership.ï¿½ The criminal appellate matters panel is unlimited in number and barristers will be permitted to apply at any time.
The Bar Association is currently negotiating with Legal Aid NSW regarding amended fee proposals applicable to all barristers who work on criminal law matters for Legal Aid and will keep members updated in this regard.ï¿½
PA Selth Executive Director
15 November 2010