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FWO reveals legal panel shake up

FWO reveals legal panel shake up

The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced its new legal services panels. Mid tier joins the top tier.

THE Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has announced its new legal services panels to cover national and state based work place disputes. 


The FWO groups Queensland with Northern Territory in a revised panel, which is set to drive efficiency and localised support.


The Queensland and Northern Territory panel sees Ffrench Commercial Lawyers, Gadens Lawyers, Holding Redlich, Hunt & Hunt and McCullough Robertson join the list. 


In the last financial year the agency spent a total of $5.7m on external legal services, and achieved more than $1.6m in penalties for employers prosecuted. During the same period, legal activity by the agency increased by 15 per cent, with 78 matters commencing in 2008-09.


The number of firms on the national panel has been slashed from 19 to 5, and now includes Australian Government Solicitor, Clayton Utz, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Deacons and Minter Ellison.


Fair Work Ombudsman chief counsel, Natalie James, said the panels will be used for a broad range of litigation, advice and corporate legal services. 


“The panels will support and supplement the services provided by our in-house legal group,” she said.


James said the new structure aims to drive efficiency and ensure the agency has localised specialist legal support and workplace relations legal services.


Bartier Perry, FCB Workplace Lawyers, and Holding Redlich make up the NSW and ACT panel, along with DLA Phillips Fox and Sparke Helmore, which also appear on the West Australian and South Australian panels with Hunt & Hunt, Lavan Legal and Piper Alderman. 


Luke Stevens, CEO Bartier Perry, said the firm's position on the panel gives it the stability of upcoming work. 


“Advantage of being on any government panel is that there is stability in work flow. There is also consistency in the volume and quality of that work flow. 

 

“In terms of market reputation, to be on any government panel flags the firm as a significant player in the market.”


Holding Redlich, Hunt & Hunt, Maurice Blackburn, Russell Kennedy and Zeeman and Zeeman all sit on the Victorian and Tasmanian panels, also with DLA Phillips Fox and Sparke Helmore.  


The Queensland and Northern Territory panel sees Ffrench Commercial Lawyers, Gadens Lawyers, Holding Redlich, Hunt & Hunt and McCullough Robertson join the list. 


The panels will also be used by the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and the Workplace Authority. 


The new panels have been appointed until 30 June 2012, with an option to extend for two years. 


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