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 Purchasing legal services

Whole of Australian Government Legal Services Panel

The Whole of Australian Government Legal Services Panel commenced on 15 August 2019.

The panel consists of five broad Areas of Law, comprising a number of Practice Areas as set out in the diagram at the link below. In addition, Legal Support Services is a separate service for the procurement of legal staff in labour-hire type arrangements. Legal services providers are appointed to the panel for one or a number of Practice Areas, each with associated schedules of rates.

Alongside the panel, Commonwealth agencies can use AGS for any legal work at any time.

Please note: Agencies will be able to purchase up to 10% of the value of their external legal services outside of the panel. This includes from legal services providers who did not tender or were not successful in being selected for the panel. Corporate Commonwealth entities can opt-in to use the panel, but are not required to do so.

Transitional arrangements

Participating agencies must use the panel for new legal services procurements from 15 August 2019, subject to some exemptions.

Agencies may continue to use pre-existing arrangements (such as parcelling arrangements created under the LSMUL) for new legal services procurements during a six-month transition period, ending on 14 February 2020. In this way, agencies that are establishing "bundling arrangements" with panel providers for volume services, can establish new arrangements before transitioning to the panel.

Legal services that are procured prior to the commencement of the panel are not affected by the panel arrangements. This is because the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, that require non-corporate Commonwealth entities to use coordinated procurements, apply at the time the procurement takes place.

Using the panel

Please refer to the following documentation about the Panel:

For Agencies:

Legal Services Panel (LSP) Portal

The portal has been established by the Attorney-General's Department (AGD) to enable participating Commonwealth agencies to access legal services from the panel or the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS). The portal allows agencies to search the panel for names and the rates of legal services providers and AGS, for any Practice Area.

If you are a participating agency and you do not have a portal user account, please complete the Agency Profile Form [DOCX 19KB] and return it to the Office of Legal Services Coordination via lspanel@ag.gov.au.  

Agency Information sessions

Information sessions were held for Commonwealth agencies in May and June 2019. They included:

  • an update on the timing of the panel
  • proposed guidelines for using the panel
  • an outline of interim arrangements to facilitate agencies' transition to the panel
  • a demonstration of the Legal Services Panel (LSP) Portal.

You can download a copy of the presentation:

Further agency information sessions are scheduled for 26 and 30 August 2019. Email lspanel@ag.gov.au for session details.

Commonwealth Contracting Suite

From 1 January 2016, the Commonwealth Contracting Suite (CCS) applies to all non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCEs). Corporate Commonwealth entities are encouraged to apply this policy.

For the engagement of counsel, Resource Management Guideline 420 provides that use of the CCS is optional when industry practice uses different terms and conditions.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​