FAQs

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FAQs

1. Will agencies be able to access firms on the supplementary panel for any claims?Image of up and down arrows

No. Supplementary firms are not generally available. Supplementary firms will be used at SICorp’s discretion where there is:

  • an overflow of work
  • a conflict of interest that cannot be resolved
  • a firm on the supplementary panel has particular expertise not available on the main panel
  • a need to replace firms on the main panel
  • a need to ensure that expertise is not limited to just the panel firms
  • a decision to allocate a percentage of work to supplementary firms to develop expertise in TMF matters.

2. Is there a probity issue if a panel firm has previously acted against an agency?Image of up and down arrows

No. All panel firms went through a rigorous Request For Tender process and have been selected on the basis of their experience and ability to meet the legal needs of the  TMF and its members. There should be no standing probity issues in relation to the engagement of any of the panel firms on a matter, and the electronic rota system cannot be overridden for this reason. In addition, all panel firms are required under their Legal Services Deed with SICorp to conduct a conflict of interest check and disclose any conflicts of interest prior to accepting an engagement request.

3. Can the electronic rota system be overridden where a firm has a regional office and a matter is filed in the corresponding regional court?Image of up and down arrows

Where there is a genuine regional need, the panel management team will consider an override request. The team will need to equally distribute work to supplementary firms.

4. Can the electronic rota system be overridden to allow a firm who may have a workers compensation matter to be engaged on an associated employment claim? Or vice versa?Image of up and down arrows

No. The appropriate list under each line of business is to be utilised for each matter.

5. What access will agencies have to the NSW Legal Panel Gateway?Image of up and down arrows

Agencies will have read-only access to the NSW Legal Panel Gateway System (LPG). This will allow them to access all information and documents uploaded to the NSW Legal Panel Gateway for their matters. Agencies will also be able to run reports on their own matters (e.g. the number of open matters).

6. In what circumstances will the Crown Solicitor’s Office be briefed outside of the rota system?Image of up and down arrows

Under Premier’s Memorandum 95-39 (“tied legal work”), the following categories of work are required to be referred to the Crown Solicitor:

  1. have implications for Government beyond an individual minister’s portfolio
  2. involve the constitutional powers and privileges of the State and/or the Commonwealth
  3. raise issues which are fundamental to the responsibilities of Government
  4. arise from, or relate to, matters falling within the Attorney General’s areas of responsibility.

Under the Crown Proceedings Act 1988, Statements of Claim and other initiating documentation in respect of the Crown (as defined) must be served on the Crown Solicitor.

7. What is a complex claim?Image of up and down arrows

The Legal Service Deed describes a complex claim as legal services to be provided by the law firm under the business line lists including any liability matters. This excludes Medical Liability, Employment, Workers Compensation and Protective Action matters. After consultation with the relevant agency, SICorp may consider these excluded cases as complex based on the following factors:

  1. likely to have a reserve of $1,000,000 or greater
  2. raises issues which are fundamental to the responsibilities of the minister or Director General of the relevant agency, or of the agency itself or any officer of the agency
  3. involves ‘significant’ ethical, policy, industrial, occupational health and safety or other ‘significant’ operational issues. For example, a matter with the potential to establish a precedent for the broader agency portfolio or matters raising issues of public debate or controversy
  4. raises a ‘significant’ question of law and/or interpretation of agency policy or legislation as administered by the relevant minister
  5. raises issues concerning intergovernmental relations, arrangements or agreements
  6. relates to any appeal on a substantive legal or constitutional issue
  7. follows a ‘catastrophic event’
  8. is within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Federal Court or High Court
  9. is the subject of or have the potential for significant media interest
  10. has the potential for ’significant’ damage to the reputation of the agency
  11. is factually complex (for example, involves multiple plaintiffs)
  12. comprises core legal work.

‘Significant’ means a matter which is likely to have a serious and quantifiable reputational, commercial or economic impact on one or more agency, or is likely to establish a precedent.

’Catastrophic Event’ means a sudden, extensive or notable disaster, accident or event arising as a consequence of unusual circumstances which has resulted in loss of life, significant personal injury to multiple individuals or significant damage to or loss of property.

SICorp’s panel management team is available to assist with defining whether a matter is a complex claim.

8. When will the existing Health Medical Liability Legal Panel be rolled onto the new panel arrangement and LPG system?Image of up and down arrows

This will be decided in consultation with SICorp and NSW Health. NSW Health’s workers compensation matters will be referred to the TMF Panel from the commencement of the workers compensation list on 16 September 2013.

9. How can an agency build relationships with large numbers of lawyers from panel firms when work is to be distributed equally to all panel firms?Image of up and down arrows

Each panel firm has nominated a Client Relationship Manager who is responsible for building relationships with SICorp, Claims managers and agencies. Panel firms also have Alternate Client Relationship Managers that are responsible for relationship issues if the primary Client Relationship Manager is unavailable. These will be the agencies’ and claims managers’ main contact points with the panel firms, as well as any other appropriate panel firm staff.

This means that agencies will be able to build relationships through consistent key contacts at each panel firm.

10. When will the agencies be able to see the value adds that the law firms are offering?Image of up and down arrows

The value adds provided by each panel firm will be accessible through the NSW Legal Panel Gateway.

Updated: 28/08/14