Purchasing legal services
About the Whole of Australian Government Legal Services Panel
The Whole of Australian Government Legal Services Panel commenced on 15 August 2019. The Standing Offer Number for the Panel is SON3622041.
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.
The panel consists of 5 broad areas of law:
- workplace, industrial relations and compensation
- property and environment
- public law
- corporate and commercial
- litigation specialisation
Each area of law comprises a number of practice areas. For more information, refer to:
In addition, Legal Support Services is a separate service for the procurement of legal staff in labour-hire type 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.
- 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.
How to use the panel
Legal Services Panel Portal
We have established the Legal Services Panel Portal to enable participating Commonwealth agencies to access legal services from the panel or the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS).
Agencies can use the portal to search for the names and rates of legal services providers and AGS, for any practice area.
Information about the panel
- Matrix of Legal Services Providers
- Panel Guidance Material
- Head Agreement template varied September 2019
- AGS Client Engagement Agreement
- Legal services providers' quarterly reporting template
- Legal services providers’ Pro Bono Work template
- Legal services providers’ Value Add Services template
- Guidance for populating and uploading quarterly expenditure reports
- Guidance for populating and uploading Pro Bono Work and Value Add Services reports
- Frequently asked questions
- Panel Portal user instructions
Information for agencies
- Request for Quote template
- Order template
- Request for Exemption template
- Factsheet: Panel Fee
- Factsheet: Corporate Commonwealth Entities and Commonwealth Companies
- Deed of Participation (for Corporate Commonwealth Entities and Commonwealth Companies only)
- When procuring legal services from providers that are not on the panel - These terms are optional, and ensure agencies comply with the Commonwealth Contracting Suite. They also include additional clauses to align with obligations contained in the Head Agreement for panel legal services providers.
We held induction sessions for Commonwealth agencies and panel legal services providers in August 2019. Sessions covered:
- how the panel will operate and what it means to use the panel
- transitional arrangements
- how AGD and AGS relate to the panel
- panel guidance material and the flexibility framework
- a demonstration of the Legal Services Panel (LSP) Portal.
Download a copy of the presentations:
- Whole of Australian Government Agency induction session
- Whole of Australian Government Legal services provider induction session
Commonwealth Contracting Suite
- From 1 January 2016, the Commonwealth Contracting Suite applies to all non-corporate Commonwealth entities. Corporate Commonwealth entities are encouraged to apply this policy.
- We have developed off-panel terms for agencies to use when procuring legal services from providers that are not on the panel. These terms are optional, and ensure agencies comply with the Commonwealth Contracting Suite. They also include additional clauses to align with obligations contained in the Head Agreement for panel legal services providers (see documents above).
- 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.