THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT last week made the final major appointments before the state’s Legal Profession Act 2004 commences in December.
Attorney-General Rob Hulls said Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman Colin Neave will chair the Legal Services Board, one of the new bodies that will be responsible for regulating the profession under the Act.
“Victoria’s legal profession and those who use their services are fortunate to have someone of Colin Neave’s experience and stature to chair the new Legal Services Board,” Hulls said in a statement.
Among other prominent positions, Neave established Australia’s first Office of Fair Trading in South Australia, was Acting Secretary of the Department of Justice in Victoria and is a former managing director of the Legal Aid Commission in NSW.
Hulls said the appointment of Neave along with six other members of the Legal Services Board was the final major element in the introduction of reforms to the profession introduced by the Legal Profession Act, Victoria’s version of the national profession model laws.
The Act, which will replace the Legal Practice Act 1996, was due to commence on 1 October, but this has been delayed until 12 December. An earlier version of the model laws commenced in Queensland last year and in NSW they came into operation on 1 October.
Last month, it was announced that Deputy Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Victoria Marles would become Victoria’s first Legal Services Commissioner as well as the new CEO of the Legal Services Board.
Under the new Act, the Legal Services Board will be responsible for licensing legal practitioners, funding and other non-disciplinary regulation. The Legal Services Commissioner will deal with complaints associated with the legal profession. The existing Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal will be able to rule on matters such as claims of professional misconduct and disputes over fees.
These bodies will replace the Legal Practice Board, the Office of the Legal Ombudsman and the Legal Profession Tribunal.
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