Section 30 Referral Panel

Section 30 Referral Panel

Composition of panel and areas of legal work

The Section 30 Referral Panel comprises private law firms and community legal centres willing to act in any legally assisted matters. Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) assigns legally assisted work among these firms in accordance with the allocation of work to lawyers and law firm guidelines.

Applications for grants of assistance lodged by Section 30 Referral Panel members

Applications lodged by Section 30 panel members on behalf of a person for a Commonwealth Family Law matter are processed through VLA’s standard grants assessment process.

Selection of panel members

Law firms may apply to VLA for membership

A private law firm may apply to VLA for inclusion on the panel. Private law firms who wish to be members of the Section 30 Referral Panel should complete and return the Section 30 application for inclusion form. For questions about this panel please contact the Assignments Unit.

See Contact us for phone and email details.

Certain law firms cannot apply for membership

A private law firm cannot apply for membership if either:

  • VLA has disqualified them from applying (under section 30(6)(b) of the Legal Aid Act 1978)
  • VLA has removed them from the panel (under section 30(10) or (11) of the Legal Aid Act).

VLA may accept or refuse an application for membership

If VLA receives an application for membership of the panel, then VLA may either:

  • accept the application and include the name of the private law firm on the register for the Section 30 Referral Panel
  • refuse the applicant from applying for a specified period of time
  • refuse the application and disqualify the firm from applying again within a particular period of time.

VLA’s power to refuse applications is broad. However, in particular, VLA may refuse an application from a private law firm if VLA has already removed the name of a partner, director or employee of that firm from the list of panel members.

A law firm may show cause why VLA should not refuse its application

Before VLA refuses any application, VLA must both:

  • advise the firm in writing of the refusal, the reasons for it and the period of any proposed disqualification
  • give the firm a reasonable opportunity to be heard and show cause why VLA should not refuse their application or not disqualify them.

The same process for being heard and showing cause applies to firms that have been refused or disqualified from membership and firms facing removal from the panel. See: Removal from the Section 30 Referral Panel.

Notice of willingness

If VLA accepts a private law firm as a member of the Section 30 Referral Panel, then the firm must sign a notice of willingness to act and to comply with:

  • the Legal Aid Act
  • the general conditions of assignment of legally assisted matters.

See Decision to grant or refuse assistance for the general conditions of assignment.

Register of members

VLA keeps a register of the members of the Section 30 Referral Panel.

The name of a firm includes all the lawyers who are partners, directors or employees of the firm

If the name of a private law firm (including a sole practitioner) is on the register, then the names of all the private lawyers who are partners, directors or employees of the private law firm are also included.

However, if VLA has removed any of these private lawyers from the panel, then their name is not included on the register.

VLA may amend the register

VLA may amend the register to:

  • remove the name of any private law firm or private lawyer that does not practice law any more
  • record any change in name of a private law firm or private lawyer
  • remove the name of a private law firm or private lawyer if they have requested VLA to do so.