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WA joins Legal Profession Uniform Law

Following the passage of enabling legislation through its State Parliament, Western Australia is set to join NSW and Victoria in the Legal Profession Uniform Law scheme, meaning three in four Australian lawyers will now be regulated by Uniform Law.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 05 April 2022 Big Law
WA joins Legal Profession Uniform Law
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The Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Bill 2021 has passed in the West Australian Parliament. The passage of amendments through both the state’s Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly means that Western Australia becomes a Uniform Law jurisdiction, alongside NSW and Victoria.

The scheme, which came into effect in NSW and Victoria in mid-2015, intends to reduce compliance costs for firms operating across participating jurisdictions by simplifying and standardising regulatory obligations, and create a common market for legal services across those participating jurisdictions.

In early 2019, Western Australia signed a “landmark agreement” with the two aforementioned eastern jurisdictions to join the scheme.

 
 

The scheme is anticipated to become operational in the Wildflower State from 1 July of this year, following further consultation with stakeholders.

In a statement, Western Australian Attorney-General John Quigley said that the Uniform Law “harmonises regulation of the legal profession, cuts red tape and creates a single system to govern legal practice”.

“I am pleased that this government has been able to deliver what is a significant step forward in creating a simpler and more efficient system of regulating legal practice in Western Australia,” he said.

“Not only will the scheme cut red tape for both lawyers and their clients, it will also enable WA lawyers to practise seamlessly across jurisdictions under uniform legislation and regulatory standards.”

With the passage of the bill in Western Australia, A-G Quigley continued, the number of Australian practising lawyers covered by Uniform Law will increase from 68 per cent to 75 per cent once the scheme comes into operation.

“I would again like to acknowledge the support of the legal profession, the Legal Practice Board, the Legal Profession Complaints Committee, the Law Society of Western Australia and the Western Australian Bar Association, together with many other stakeholders who have contributed to the development of this legislation,” he said.

The Law Society of Western Australia welcomed Attorney-General Quigley’s statement, with president Rebecca Lee saying that the state association has been in favour of Western Australia’s adoption of the Legal Profession Uniform Law “for many years”.

“A single, uniform set of professional conduct rules providing inter-jurisdictional consistency can only benefit consumers of legal services, the legal profession and regulators, especially with national and international firms now being commonplace,” she proclaimed.

“This is an exciting change to the regulation of the legal profession, and the Law Society will continue to support our members to navigate the new regime.”