Clarity Law

Specialist Criminal Law Firm Queensland
Tuesday, 24 May 2022 11:40

Should I use a Duty Lawyer for my Case?

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If it is a traffic matter, you probably cannot.

If it is a criminal matter, you can, but in many circumstances may not want to.


What is a duty lawyer?

A lawyer who assists people at Magistrates Courts some days of the week, for no fee. The duty lawyer service is funded by Legal Aid Queensland. Employees of Legal Aid Queensland  or solicitors from firms that Legal Aid cases, serve as duty lawyers. Duty lawyers will provide legal advice and will sometimes provide representation in court. A duty lawyer can appear for simple pleas of guilty (for criminal matters) and adjournments.


Why can’t I use a Duty Lawyer for a Traffic Matter?

Magistrates Courts allocate different types of cases to different days of the week, such as: general criminal matters on a Monday, traffic matters on a Tuesday, Children’s Court matters on a Wednesday, and domestic violence applications on a Thursday.

Legal Aid Queensland will not fund a duty lawyer service for days when only traffic court is held, this is because Legal Aid’s guidelines direct that a duty lawyer is not to assist a person with a traffic matter unless the defendant is at risk of imprisonment. Even then, a duty lawyer will frequently decline to represent a person who is at risk of imprisonment, recommending instead that the defendant gets their own lawyer, who can then prepare the case properly.


Why shouldn’t I use a Duty Lawyer for a Criminal Matter?

Duty lawyers are professional and caring but they are busy. I have provided duty lawyer services in the past, and I considered it a good day if the number of cases I dealt with was only 10. A duty lawyer does not have much time to spend with you on your case, as time must be managed between many people. Generally, I would allocate about 10 to 15 minutes per person to look at their case and give them some rough advice.

Another reason is duty lawyers vary in experience. There are many fine duty lawyers, but equally, Legal Aid’s guidelines only require a minimum of 6 months’ criminal law experience before a person can become accredited as a duty lawyer (traffic law experience is not a requirement).


What are the Advantages of Using a Duty Lawyer?

  • If you did not already have a lawyer and you were nervous about asking for an adjournment by yourself, then a duty lawyer would be helpful for that purpose.
  • If you have a multi-page criminal history, you may not be concerned about ‘adding one to the pile.’
  • It is a free service.


What are the Advantages of Using Clarity Law?

  • Our lawyers give your case the personal attention that a duty lawyer does not, by necessity, have time for. We speak with you before court, appear with you at court, and explain everything after court. We are your personal guide through the court system.
  • We work on a fixed fee basis. There is no confusion around what you are getting for your money.
  • All our lawyers have at least six years’ experience in traffic law and criminal law.
  • Our legal expertise leads to great outcomes:
    • o Minimum disqualifications,
    • o No convictions recorded,
    • o Perfect success rate for special licence applications,
    • o Low fine and other penalties.
  • We have many 5-star reviews; see our Brisbane office and our Sunshine Coast office. We think that’s a good sign.



Having been a duty lawyer, I can say from experience that it is unlikely a duty lawyer (if available) will assist you with a traffic matter and may not be the best choice for resolving a criminal matter. There is too much at stake to rely on a duty lawyer, even for a ‘minor’ offence, and our strong recommendation is for you to seek personal legal representation.


How do I get more information or engage Clarity Law to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further obligation free information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
  3. Book a time for us to call you
  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Jacob Pruden

Jacob is a former barrister and now criminal defence lawyer with over 8 years experience appearing in courts throughout South East Queensland representing clients charged with criminal offences.