find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Presidents nervous on national reform

Presidents nervous on national reform

Incoming law society presidents across various states and territories have told Lawyers Weekly today that their concerns regarding the national reform process of the legal profession will remain…

Incoming law society presidents across various states and territories have told Lawyers Weekly today that their concerns regarding the national reform process of the legal profession will remain their top priority for 2010.

In April this year, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed that they would consider draft legislation on uniform laws offering national regulation of the Australian legal profession within 12 months.

The national laws may include everything from creating a national system for admission, to issuing practicing certificates, dealing with complaints, billing regulations and professional discipline.

But jurisdictions with small practitioner numbers - including the Northern Territory and Western Australia - told Lawyers Weekly that they are concerned their members may be disadvantaged by the proposed changes, and that any additional costs that may result from the changes might not be fairly dispersed across their practitioner bases - which are much smaller than NSW and Victoria.

"The big issue is cost," said Hylton Quail, the Law Society of WA's incoming president for 2010. "It's the elephant in the room that everybody is tiptoeing around. Who is going to pay for this national body? We're concerned that it will increase local practicing costs which will then, necessarily, impact on the cost of the delivery of legal services."

Quail also expressed concern over the reform process deferring the powers of the Legal Practice Board of WA to a centralised ombudsman-like office in Canberra. It was a concern that Matthew Storey, the incoming Law Society of Northern Territory president also agreed with: "The issue for us would be, what sort of presence could an office like that have in the Northern Territory," said Storey.

"You could end up with somebody in Canberra or Sydney trying to manage services remotely, now that doesn't provide a great service for practitioners [in NT], or for their clients.

In a statement released to Lawyers Weekly, the Law Society of NSW said that it too will focus its efforts on how the evolution of the new regulatory system will occur and, in particular, on ensuring that it does not increase current costs involved in the delivery of legal services.

Over in Queensland, the incoming Law Society president, Peter Eardley, said one of his prime concerns on the reform process is the lack of information currently being circulated regarding the proposals.

"It would be fair to say that every law society is disappointed at the lack of real guts and the face-to-face understanding of what the reform process is meant to show, there's a lack of detail," he said.

"It's the implementation of a lot of the changes proposed that we are unsure about, and which we're not convinced that the government can deliver via a new model, at no extra cost."

- Angela Priestley

Lawyers Weekly is currently speaking to the 2010 law society presidents about their concerns for the coming year. A full feature will appear in next Friday's edition of Lawyers Weekly.

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

Presidents nervous on national reform
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Papua New Guinea flag
06:04
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
06:03
Punishing offenders twice pointless, politicians warned
The president of the Law Society of NSW has warned legislators from other states about adopting cont...
Dec 13 2017
Young humanitarian lawyer California-bound
A young Australian lawyer will be travelling to the US next year for a prestigious nine-month study ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...