The controversial ban against advertising for personal injury legal services in New South Wales is being challenged once again, this time by Brydens Compensation Lawyers.
Brydens' battle against the ban is being taken to the High Court , where the firm will seek to challenge the validity of the advertising laws, which prevent lawyers from providing any form of public notice which promote personal injury legal services.
This is not the first time the NSW Government's advertising ban has been challenged since it was put in to place. In 2005 the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) unsuccessfully mounted a High Court challenge and continues to campaign against the ban.
"This is an important access to justice issue because what this is about is injured people being prevented from learning about their rights," says president of the NSW branch of ALA, Jnana Gumbert.
"People who have valid claims for compensation who are injured in accidents may not be able to find out about those rights and may not be able to find a lawyer to assist them. Without that, what you've got is an injured person having to go up against a big insurance company by themselves and that's clearly unsatisfactory."
Gumbert also said the advertising laws are discriminatory and unreasonable. "They are quite discriminatory in the sense that there has been no attempt to stop advertising of any other legal services. It's simply in relation to personal injury services and there's really no good reason for that to be the case."
While most states have not followed in the footsteps of NSW in applying a comprehensive ban, in November 2009 the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General referred the issue of a national ban to the Council of Australian Governments' National Legal Profession Reform Taskforce.
Gumbert said the ALA has been campaigning against the national ban simply because it is unreasonable on a state level and it would therefore be unreasonable on a national scale.
Referring to the regulatory laws already in place to address advertising of legal services, Gumbert said the NSW laws go above and beyond what is necessary and reasonable.
Echoing the sentiments of the ALA, the Law Council of Australia also strongly opposes the NSW Government's ban, labelling it as unnecessary, anti-competitive and limiting access to justice.