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WA Law Society slams National Ombudsman proposal

WA Law Society slams National Ombudsman proposal

A key plank of the National Legal Profession Reform Consultation Package has been described as unworkable by the head of the peak body representing Western Australian lawyers. <

A key plank of the National Legal Profession Reform Consultation Package has been described as unworkable by the head of the peak body representing Western Australian lawyers.

Hylton Quail, the President of the WA Law Society, told Lawyers Weekly today that "Western Australian lawyers will not support a scheme where they can be disciplined in Canberra".

"Why should lawyers in Western Australia pay for both a state regulator and an ombudsman in Canberra?" he said.

Quail added that Western Australian lawyers who made representations to the taskforce designing the draft bill had largely being ignored.

"The eastern states have more practitioners and more representative bodies, and that is reflected in the proposals," said Quail.

"To incorporate parts of our system would require too much change on the east coast."

Quail added that the WA Law Society broadly supported the adoption of a set of national conduct rules for barristers and solicitors "as long as that was administered by state bodies".

He said that the WA Law Society would continue to argue for significant changes to the bill over the course of the public consultation process, which closes in mid-August.

The WA Law Society is not the only state body to criticise elements of the package.

ACT Law Society President Athol Opus said that he was supportive of the harmonisation of the Australian legal profession, but described the consultation process to date as being "fairly rushed".

Justin Whealing

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