Victoria Legal Aid has recently conducted a review into its system of payments to private practitioners in criminal matters. Their 107 page report can be found here. Widespread changes are expected.
The biggest impact to practice in the Magistrates' Court is movement to a whole of job fee structure, replacing grants on an appearance basis. Cases which are classified as taking approximately 6.5 hours of work (called non-complex matters) will attract a flat fee of $754. Complex cases (cases expected to require 13 hours of work) will attract a fee of $1508 (and an additional $116 if the matter proceeds to contest). VLA expect 25% of cases to be categorised as complex cases.
A single fee will relate to the conduct of a whole summary crime case regardless of when and how it resolves. There is no additional fee for any other particular type of hearing.
An implementation date for the new fee structure of 1 January 2011 has been set. There are likely to be further discussions before the final model is implemented. The Law Institute isn't happy about the proposed changes, and after a couple of years of behind-the-scenes negotiation is starting to voice its dissatisfaction publicly (Edit: including here and here).