VICTORIAN Attorney-General Rob Hulls has announced a review of legal education services in the state. The move coincides with significant changes to legal regulation and administration in Victoria with the creation of the position of Legal Services Commissioner, currently Victoria Marles.
The review of postgraduate (pre-admission and continuing) legal education and training is to be headed by Susan Campbell, former Professorial Fellow in Legal Practice at Monash University, and incorporates an open submissions period, in which individuals and interest groups are invited to comment on possible changes to the current system of compulsory professional development. The review is necessary in the current regulatory climate so that the Victorian legal system can "review its admission criteria in the context of the new national profession regime”, Hulls said.
The scope of the proposed review “ensures legal practitioners maintain acceptable levels of professional competence and ethical standards, and deliver quality legal services to the community”, briefing materials claim. The need to regularly assess and evaluate legal education services is a significant topic in the legal community in the wake of recent changes to state and national regulations. Legal practitioners now have a wide and exhaustive array of new codes with which to acquaint themselves, as well as a new technologically advanced context in which to study further. For this reason, issues raised by online courses, for example, will be studied by the review.
The state’s Legal Profession Act 2004, which seeks to implement a more consistent national model for regulatory standards, also provides for the purposes outlined by the review Hull has announced. These include “legal aid, reform, education and research”. The Act states that it makes “changes to the way funding is administered” for these purposes. The legal education review represents the execution of this legislative promise, enabling Campbell and the advisory committee to undertake the task with a view to reporting their recommendations to the Hull by July 2006.
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