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Public Law Child Care Solicitors Panel

The Legal Aid Board is seeking solicitors in private practice with an interest in child care law to join its new Public Law Child Care Solicitors Panel which is being established with effect from 1st October 2022, initially for a three year period.

What is the Panel?

Solicitors who are successfully entered on the Panel will provide legal advice and legal aid to parents of children who are the subject of child care proceedings and who have:

  • Been granted a legal aid certificate by the Board; and
  • Referred to the Panel in accordance with management guidelines.

What type of proceedings are covered?

The Panel covers applications in the District Court under Parts III and IV of the Child Care Act 1991, that is, applications by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) for emergency, interim, and full care orders and supervision orders and related matters.

Applications for special care orders (Part IV A) are not within the scope of the Panel.

What are the requirements?

You will be enrolled as a solicitor in the State and meet the other requirements in our terms and conditions for membership of the panel. You will be required to demonstrate the necessary experience in the area of child care law. Prior service on the Child Care Pilot Panel may meet the requirement for necessary experience.

If you are entered onto the panel you will be expected to comply with our Best Practice Guidelines when carrying out work on our behalf.

Do I have to attend training?

We will hold an online, free of charge, induction training event in early September. Details of the event will be made available in due course. Attendance at the training event is compulsory.

How do I get work?

Persons seeking legal aid apply to law centres and must meet financial eligibility and certain other requirements. There is no contribution payable in child care matters. Cases will be selected for referral to the Panel by law centres in accordance with management guidelines.

Where a law centre refers a case to the panel it is the legally aided person’s decision as to which panel solicitor is engaged. For these reasons we cannot guarantee that any individual solicitor will receive any work on foot of their membership of the panel.

Solicitors should also note that we cannot guarantee that any particular legally aided person will be referred to the Panel. This includes any case in which the solicitor/firm may have previously acted for the client on a fee-paying basis. Solicitors should bear all of this in mind when advising existing clients about applying for legal aid.

What happens to the Child Care Pilot Panel?

The existing Child Care Pilot Panel will come to an end (except for the completion of existing cases) on 30th September 2022 and the new Panel will begin the following day 1st October 2022.

Any cases referred out on or before 30th September 2022 will continue to be governed by the existing Terms and Conditions of the Pilot Panel until they are completed. New cases referred out on or after 1st October 2022 will be governed by the terms and conditions of the new permanent Panel.

How to apply

You can download the application form and the terms and conditions which include the fee structure.

Please return the signed application form preferably by email to localpp@legalaidboard.ie or alternatively by post to Private Practitioner Services, Legal Aid Board, Quay Street, Cahersiveen, Co Kerry V23 RD36 or via DX to DX166004 CAHERSIVEEN.

Please note that as appointment to the Panel is on an individual solicitor basis, a separate application form is needed for each solicitor in the firm who wishes to join the Panel. Multiple applications can be sent in the one email / envelope.

Closing date for applications

Any solicitor wishing to attend the training in September should have their application with the Board no later than close of business Friday 2nd September 2022. While the Panel will remain open to applications after that date, the provision of further training events will be subject to there being sufficient interest from solicitor colleagues to mandate running an event and also to the needs of the Panel. Therefore solicitors who miss the September training event may have to wait a considerable period for a further event to be organised.