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Legal professional reforms confirmed as govt hands over $1.7m

Legal professional reforms confirmed as govt hands over $1.7m

The Attorney General today announced a financial injection to establish two legal regulators as part of widespread national legal professional reforms.

ATTORNEY-General Robert McClelland today (10 December 2010) announced a $1.7 million financial injection to establish two legal regulators as part of widespread national legal professional reforms.

As the Standing Committee of Attorneys General launched in Canberra today, the Attorney labelled the funds as start-up costs for the new National Legal Services Board and the National Legal Services Commissioner.

The national bodies are being touted as a cornerstone of the new national regulatory framework. The Attorney said today they would play an important role in developing uniform national standards and ensuring consistency in complaints handling.

The new legal profession framework will be a key topic for discussion at today’s Standing Committee of Attorneys-General in Canberra.

McClelland said the contribution demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to the implementation of a national regulatory system for the profession.

“These reforms will be of enormous benefit to the legal profession and to the broader Australian community,” he said.

“The reforms will improve consumer protections and enhance the competitiveness of our legal services profession internationally – by reducing red tape and standardising regulations.”

McClelland said the reforms would increase productivity in the legal services market, “providing further opportunities for the legal profession to contribute to Australia’s future prosperity”.

“With this funding confirmed, the Australian Government urges all States and Territories to work together to finalise this reform in the interests of the nation,” he said.

The taskforce is on track to deliver its proposed reform package, including the national law, to the Council of Australian Government within 12 months.

As reported by The New Lawyer last month, the National Legal Services Board will be made up of lawyers, barristers, and people recommended by the Standing Committee of Attorneys General. At the time, the National Legal Profession Taskforce released an Interim Report on Key Issues and Funding in the legal profession reform project.

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) and members of the profession raised concerns that the proposal may undermine the independence of the profession. Other stakeholders, meanwhile, said members should come from the profession and those with broader skills and experience.


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