STATES AND TERRITORIES should follow suit in adopting reforms that will create a more effective national legal services market, the Law Council of Australia (LCA) said last week.
Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are the only states that have so far put reforms into place that will move Australia towards achieving a national profession, LCA president John North said. “With Australia’s three most populous states coming on board, more than 80 per cent of the nation’s lawyers are now practising in jurisdictions which have either adopted or commenced the national profession reforms,” North said.
“This is significant and very encouraging for the Law Council, which has worked hard for years on the National Legal Profession Project. Now we need the remainder of Australia to follow suit.”
The LCA’s aim, that all states and territories adopt the reforms by 1 July 2006, was recently conveyed to the Standing Committee of Attorneys General, said North.
“Australian-wide adoption, as soon as possible, is a milestone that must be achieved if a truly national legal services market is to be established.”
A national profession would benefit practitioners and consumers, the LCA said last week. It will enable lawyers to work interstate with a single practising certificate and will see a uniform standard to law degrees and practical legal training.
As well, it would see consistent rules dealing with trust accounts and fidelity funds, uniform definitions of misconduct and a national system that will enable foreign lawyer to practise the law of their home country in Australia, said the LCA.
“Australian lawyers enjoy a particularly good international reputation, and a national legal services market will bolster their attempts to gain practice opportunities in foreign countries,” said North.