In response to today's release of COAG's draft legislation for national profession reform, the Law Council of Australia (LCA) has reiterated its stance that the profession's independence must be protected.
The release of the draft legislation comes in the lead up to formal consultation sessions to be held next month.
The LCA used its response to the draft to emphasise the profession's independence as a top priority, noting that any uniform system regulating the practice of law in Australia must protect the legal profession's independence and benefit consumers of legal services.
"As the collective voice of the Australian legal profession, we have previously made submissions to the Taskforce, and during this consultation period we will be placing particular focus on the composition of the National Legal Services Board and the proposed role of the National Legal Services Ombudsman and the independence of the profession," said LCA president Glenn Ferguson.
"It is essential that any new national regulation system maintains the independence of the legal profession - and a vital part of having an independent legal profession is that its members set the standards of professional conduct and also play a part in the regulation of the profession."
"The size and composition of the proposed National Legal Services Board, the process for appointing its members and what that means for the independence of the legal profession is something that we will be looking at very closely," Ferguson said.
The LCA also voiced its approval of the proposals which will boost Australia's competitiveness in the foreign legal services market by breaking down the barriers that exist across jurisdictions.
"Disparate regulation of the profession creates a significant impediment to foreign lawyers working in Australia and impedes Australian lawyers' competitiveness in the international legal services market," Ferguson said.
"We are pleased with the proposals to provide a more transparent and flexible approach to the way overseas qualified and experienced lawyers are treated when applying for admission to the Australian legal profession.
"This should help to improve Australia's ability to attract high quality specialist lawyers, as well as enhance our ability to negotiate overseas for greater access to our lawyers to the international legal services market," he said.
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