BACKED BY the Law Society of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Greens last week announced they would move to split the Legal Profession Amendment Bill so that the removal of disciplinary powers from the Law Society would be debated separately from the removal of other regulatory powers.
However, as Lawyers Weekly was going to press, the Greens’ motion was defeated. The legal profession is now watching closely as the Bill in its original form is debated. The Amendment Bill would allow lawyers to keep control of regulation, but an independent board would oversee disciplinary issues.
Greens Opposition Justice Spokesperson Nick McKim said the Greens supported the Government’s move to remove disciplinary functions from the Law Society. However, there were concerns that the Government’s model for regulation of the legal profession in Tasmania would increase the price of justice in the state, as well as break the doctrine of Separation of Powers.
Before the vote on splitting the Bill, McKim said they were introducing the motion “in order that the debate can proceed in a clear and informed manner, without confusing the disciplinary and regulatory functions of the Law Society.”
The Law Society strongly supported the Greens’ move to separate discipline issues from those of regulation and the issuing of practising certificates. The Society had in fact initiated the idea of a separate body to discipline the profession, Law Society president Gunson said.