Engagement of Claims Litigation Barrister Guidelines

  1. The Transport Accident Commission (“The TAC”) retains a broad range of barristers in its role as a purchaser of legal services.
  2. All barristers not currently performing TAC claims litigation work, who wish to accept work for the TAC, are required to put their request in writing to the TAC with a copy of their curriculum vitae.
  3. The request will then be considered by the TAC’s Senior Manager Legal Branch or their delegate assisted by the Barrister Review Committee made up of nominated management representatives across the TAC (the Committee) at the next scheduled quarterly Barrister review meeting.
  4. Within 7 days of that review meeting, a decision will be made and communicated to either the barrister and or his/her clerk.
  5. The decision will be communicated in writing and will include the initial determined fee if the barrister is to undertake work on behalf of the TAC.
  6. At this time the barrister will also be advised that they will be expected to act in accordance with the TAC’s Engagement of Claims Litigation Barrister Guidelines and any fee, performance and review guidelines which may apply from time to time.
  7. A barrister already on the preferred list is expected to act in accordance with those guidelines as provided to that barrister’s clerk.
  8. The TAC also reserves the right to approach a barrister, not on its list of preferred barristers, considered suitable to undertake its work in appropriate circumstances such as specialised expertise or change of availability or capacity of the preferred barrister list.
  9. The TAC will review its Preferred Barrister List on an annual basis. Subject to the discretion of the Senior Manager Legal Branch any barrister on the list:
    1. Who has not been briefed in the preceding 24 months will be removed from the list.
    2. Whose performance has been assessed by the Committee having regard to feedback received as less than acceptable in the preceding 24 months will be removed from the list.
  10. All barristers whose performance has been assessed by the Committee as acceptable or above for the preceding 12 month period will be considered for ongoing engagement subject to any additional feedback that may impact on their suitability to provide services to the TAC e.g. where a significant reputational risk has arisen or a breach of the Model Litigant Guidelines, Legal Professional Uniform Conduct (Barrister) Rules or Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees has occurred.
  11. A barrister who has been removed from the list can re-apply for inclusion at any time and will be considered in accordance with these guidelines.

Application and Selection

  1. The guidelines apply to the engagement of claims litigation barristers by the TAC.
  2. The guidelines apply to all briefs to carry out services for the conduct of claims litigation and related advice as allocated by or on behalf of the TAC.

    Selection of barristers

  3. In selecting a barrister, all reasonable endeavours will be made to:
    1. Identify all barristers in the relevant practice area with the appropriate skill sets;
    2. Generally consider engaging such barristers;
    3. Ensure compliance with the equal opportunity briefing policy; and
    4. Regularly monitor and review the engagement of barristers.

Expectations

    Bankruptcy

  1. In delivering a brief to a barrister it is a condition that in accepting the brief, a barrister is not and has not been declared bankrupt.
  2. A barrister who has been declared bankrupt, and who has been the subject of an adverse disciplinary finding by a professional body in relation to the circumstances of that bankruptcy, is only to be engaged with the explicit approval of the Senior Manager Legal Branch.
  3. Taxation

  1. In delivering a brief to a barrister it is a condition that in accepting the brief, that barrister has complied with the Australian Taxation Office legislation and guidelines.

    Model litigant

  2. There is an expectation that barristers engaged by the TAC will act in accordance with the Revised Model Litigant Guidelines (2011).

    Reputational risk

  3. There is an expectation that a barrister will not engage in any conduct that could be perceived or is likely to damage the reputation of the TAC.

    Timelines

  4. The TAC expects that any brief for work should be carried out in a timely manner, unless the TAC is advised to the contrary within five working days of a barrister having received the brief.

    Working Electronically

  5. It is the expectation of the TAC that a barrister who accepts a brief on behalf of the TAC will be able to accommodate requests to work electronically

    Accepting briefs

  6. The TAC expects that a barrister will not, save in the case of circuit matters, and accept another brief for the same day/days as the TAC brief unless express approval is sought from the Senior Manager Legal Branch.

    Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Practice Rules (“the Rules”)

  7. The TAC expects that a barrister will comply at all times with the Rules

    Code of Conduct

  8. The TAC expects that a barrister whilst engaged to act on behalf of the TAC will at all times comply with the Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees.

Exceptional cases

  1. These guidelines may be varied by agreement between a barrister and his or her instructor in exceptional cases, with express permission of the Senior Manager, Legal Branch on instructions from the TAC.

Review of Guidelines

  1. A review of these guidelines will be undertaken on an annual basis by Senior Manager, Legal Branch or as delegated.