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A national practising certificate could be issued as early as 2011 in proposed reforms by the Federal Attorney-General taskforce examining regulation of the legal profession.Another change…

A national practising certificate could be issued as early as 2011 in proposed reforms by the Federal Attorney-General taskforce examining regulation of the legal profession.

Another change mooted was the obligation for national firms to have only one trust account and standard professional indemnity insurance across the board, reported The Australian.

New national rules would be facilitated by legislation being passed in one state which would compel other jurisdictions to follow.

Meanwhile, overcharging by lawyers is also being targeted, with plans to ensure firms can't escape sanctions by blaming "rogue employees" for preparing bills. Instead, the principal of a firm would be liable for misconduct because responsibility for bills would fall to them.

The consumer complaints process could also be overhauled, with national guidelines and an ombudsman handling those of national significance

Victoria's Legal Services Commissioner, Victoria Marles, has called on a role for consumer representatives to help shape the profession's standards for national regulation.

"In a number of other regulatory regimes, consumers have a formalised voice which includes ongoing consultative mechanisms," she told The Australian.

"These mechanisms are often supported and resourced by the regulator and I think this is something that should definitely be looked at."

The taskforce, which includes representatives from NSW, Victoria, ACT and the Law Council, is expected to settle the scheme after further talks, with draft legislation by April next year.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

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