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​​NSW Government Legal Services Panel

​​​Background

​​The NSW Government Legal Services Panel (Panel) commenced on 1 July 2016. This is the first time a whole-of-government panel has been established in NSW.

The Panel consists of 44 law firms and is a mix of small, medium and large firms. The 44 firms make up 6 Sub-Panels covering 35 areas of Law. 

The panel is made up of these sub-panels:

  1. Major transactions
  2. Commercial
  3. Planning, property and environment
  4. Employment, work health and safety
  5. Government, regulatory and administrative
  6. Litigation and inquiries

The detailed list of sub-panels and areas of law under the panel is available at the following link [PDF 172 KB]

A list of the Panel Firms is attached [​PDF 218 KB].

The Panel was established with the aim of supporting the savings targets for legal service procurement across the public sector by taking advantage of the combined purchasing power of NSW Government Agencies to secure more competitive pricing. Firms will also benefit from a level of certainty given the volume of Government legal work.

​Panel Rules and Deed

The Panel Rules govern the way firms are engaged and whether competitive quotes must be obtained.

The Panel Rules are available here [PDF 116 KB].

The Panel Deed is the contractual agreement between the Panel firms and the State of NSW. This Agreement sets out the terms on which the State and the Service Provider have agreed that the Service Provider will:

  • Be appointed as a member of the Panel; and

  • Supply legal services as a member of the Panel,

    including the terms under which the Service Provider will supply legal services to a Client in response to a Legal Services Order.

The Panel Deed is available here [PDF 1036 KB].

​​​How to buy from this scheme?

Agencies should contact a firm appointed for the appropriate area of law for the legal services to seek an estimate. 

Detailed contact list for firms is available here [xlsx 200 KB].

Alternative pricing arrangements may be requested and will be a matter for agreement between the agency and panel firm. The Panel rules govern whether competitive quotes must be obtained. The process is covered in clauses 6 to 8 of the Deed. The firm will provide an estimate or project outline, as requested. Instructions should be provided using the Legal services order form [word 37KB]​.

Questions about using the panel should be directed initially to agency contract managers (list available soon). The agency contract manager will contact the Panel Manager if necessary.

For Department of Justice queries please contact the Office of the General Counsel: enquiries_generalcounsel@justice.nsw.gov.au

Core Legal Work

Core Legal Work is excluded from the scope of the Panel in accordance with Premier's Memorandum 2016-04 NSW Government Core Legal Work Guidelines (the revised Guidelines replace the previous PM1995-39 Arrangements for Seeking Legal Advice from the Crown Solicitor's Office).

Agencies should consult the revised Core Legal Work Guidelines for more information regarding which matters are considered Core and non-Core.

All Core Legal Work is to be referred to the Crown Solicitor's Office (CSO) as required under Premier's Memorandum 2016-04.

An Agency's procurement of legal services outside the Panel arrangement will only be on an exceptional basis. ​​

Transition of current legal matters

Agencies are required to transition all current matters or those engaged through the previous Transport Legal Services Panel (previous TfNSW Panel) or alternative arrangement to the current Panel under the new Panel Rules.

All current matters will be transitioned to the new Panel rates other than:

  • Secondments
  • Mini-tenders; or
  • Fixed fee arrangements.

All Agencies are required to complete and return to the OGC the Transition of Matters spread sheet.

Agencies need to indicate which firms were engaged through the previous TfNSW Panel or other arrangement and the Sub-Panel and Area of Law for which they were engaged.

The information provided will be cross-referenced with the new Panel arrangements and the agency will determine whether the transition arrangement will be one of the following for billing and reporting purposes: 

  • Current Panel: Agency determines that the matter engaged under previous panel arrangements (previous TfNSW panel or other) will be transitioned to the NSW Government Legal Services Panel and will adopt the agreed rated under the NSW Government Legal Services Panel. These matters will transition to a 'current' panel matter.
  • Previous Panel: Agency determines that a matter engaged under previous panel arrangements (previous TfNSW panel or other) and will remain on existing rates and will not transition to the NSW Government Legal Services Panel; or
  • Off-Panel: Engagements made in accordance with the Off-Panel Engagement Guidelines (see below regarding off-Panel arrangements).

All invoices from firms are to be moderated by the Agency Contract Manager. This involves comparing the rates charged by law firms compared with the Panel rates available on the E-Tender site.

Please refer any questions regarding transition of matters to your Agency Contract Manager.  ​

Off-Panel Engagements

An Agency's procurement of legal services outside the Panel arrangement will usually only occur on an exceptional basis.  For example, for work requiring unique or specialist expertise or resources that the Agency considers are not available among firms on the Panel, or for matters that may arise in new categories of legal work that were not included in the Services Brief.

Agencies must have regard to Off-Panel Engagements Guidelines at Schedule 3 of the Deed when deciding whether it is appropriate to engage a provider that is not a Panel Firm.

In the event agencies need to engage providers of legal services that are not Panel Firms, they must secure the necessary approvals in accordance with the agency's procurement framework having regard to Procurement Board Direction PBD-2016-01 and the NSW Government Procurement Policy Framework.

Reasons must be provided why an off-Panel engagement is required and all off-Panel engagements must be pre-approved by the General Counsel.

The Agency Contract Manager will be responsible for reporting on all off-Panel expenditure to the Procurement Board. All off-Panel engagements are then reported to the Procurement Board on a bi-annual basis.

The Panel is not subject to NSW Procurement Board Direction PBD-2012-02 Obligation by government agencies to use whole of government contracts but procurement of legal services must be undertaken as contemplated by the Panel Rules and accompanying Guidelines.​

Further detailed information is available at the ProcurePoint Website.​