Heavy-hitter joins South Australia’s legal aid

The seasoned lawyer has acted for Fortune 100 companies

Heavy-hitter joins South Australia’s legal aid
South Australia’s legal aid is getting a heavy-hitting lawyer with international experience.

Diana Newcombe is the newest legal practice manager at the Legal Services Commission of South Australia. She moves from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency where she was previously state manager for South Australia and most recently legal services national director. She played a key role in the 14 national health practitioner boards regulating more than 600,000 registered healthcare professionals.

Newcombe is also a former partner at Eversheds, which merged last year to form Eversheds Sutherland, where she managed a group of 500 lawyers across more than 30 jurisdictions and regularly acted for Fortune 100 companies.

“In Australia and Europe, Diana has extensive experience in the management of legal teams and in working with a diverse range of public and private sector stakeholders,” said LSC chair Michael Abbott AO QC. “Her appointment complements our diverse management expertise and experience.”

The management experience has come in handy for the experienced lawyer. In her new role, she will oversee the allocation of almost $20m in grants to private-practice firms in SA. She will oversee the LSC’s legal practice and its legal practitioner panels.

“These legal practitioner panels play a vital part in our legal system,” Abbott said. “They list about 650 lawyers who are approved to handle legal aid cases. The panels cover criminal and family law proceedings, child care and protection cases, guardianship and mental health matters, and proceedings requiring a specialist independent children’s lawyer.”

Newcombe will report to LSC Director Gabrielle Canny, who jointly announced the appointment with Abbott.

“Private practitioners undertake two-thirds of legally-aided matters in SA, and Diana is keen to build on the commission’s relationships with them,” Canny said. “Diana takes charge of our practitioner panels at a time when they have been operating for three years. We are in a period of consolidation, but we also continue to review issues raised by panel members to ensure the panels operate as effectively as possible.”

Newcombe sees the appointment as an opportunity to perform an indispensable public service.

“Legal assistance is a human service and its delivery involves multiple stakeholders,” she said. I look forward to building on the commission’s relationships with the organisations, agencies, and individuals whose hard work helps deliver legal assistance to the people in SA.”

Funded by the SA and Commonwealth governments, the LSC provides more than 120,000 legal assistance services every year to South Australians.


Diana Newcombe


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