This paper was developed to support Legal Aid NSW undertake a review of their client intake and triage processes. It provides a conceptual basis to support the development of a systematic approach to triage to ensure clients are efficiently and effectively directed to the type and level of legal service appropriate to their legal needs and capability.
Developing a triage framework sets out a number of key criteria that are relevant to developing a suitable triage model that identifies priority clients for assistance:
The paper features a matrix developed by the Foundation that maps triage practice by type of entry point into the legal service. The matrix provides a template for identifying actual triage practices and whether they are consistent with the goals of the legal service.
- intake pathway – e.g. mode and location of service
- client characteristics – e.g. client disadvantage and client capability
- legal problem characteristics – e.g. type, severity and urgency of problem
- available assistance options – from the intake service, from other legal assistance services, or from other human services
- likely outcomes of assistance – for the client in the short-term and longer-term, and possibly also for the dispute resolution and justice system.