Four of Australia's largest law firms have made history this week, making a combined submission before a Senate Committee hearing on proposed new legislation, the Personal Property Securities Bill.
Partners from the four firms, including Diccon Loxton from Allens, Bruce Whittaker from Blake Dawson, Patrick Lowden from Freehills and John Canning from Mallesons, appeared together calling for changes to the proposed bill.
A spokesperson from Allens told Lawyers Weekly that he and the partners involved believe that the united appearance was unprecedented, and never before had such a stand from law firms been made before the senate.
The bill implements a new national system for registering security over all property - bar land - with the four firms stating it will have far-reaching effects on commercial law.
While the four firms told the senate they support the need for reform in the area and welcome the national register, they believe the current scope of the bill is too ambitious.
Originally citing their concern in a 76-page written submission to the senate, the firms said they were concerned the existing form of the legislation will not achieve its stated objectives - to provide a more consistent, less complex and cheaper regime.
The firms said they did not unite to represent a client nor an industry sector, but because they believe the legislation will significantly impact on private rights and transactions and is, therefore, vital to get right.
- Angela Priestley