DESPITE SLOW progress, after recent consultations with state ministers, the Law Council is still optimistic the national profession laws will be introduced around the country within six months.
But the peak body’s president, John North, says there are many other areas of legislation that need to be harmonised. “There has been good progress when you consider how difficult this concept is in a federal system of government,” he said.
“The ragged and staggered implementation among different states and territories has not helped but recent meetings at a federal and state level show there is genuine good will to finalise the process.”
The Law Council’s aim is to have all states and territories legislate by the end of this financial year. “That may be difficult to achieve,” North said, “but certainly we hope that all will have introduced the legislation by then.”
He said it makes sense for large law firms to incorporate once the national profession laws are in place nationally, but “it is hard [to incorporate] unless the states and territories harmonise the stamp duty and CGT [capital gains tax] implications involved in moving from a partnership to an incorporated entity”.
Other areas that needed addressing included mutual recognition for professional indemnity insurance schemes and fidelity funds.