Former Chief Justice to chair new regulatory body
Former Federal Court Chief Justice Michael Black AC, QC has been appointed as the inaugural chair of the body that will oversee the legal profession’s new uniform regulatory system.
The Legal Services Council will ensure the Legal Profession Uniform Law is applied consistently across New South Wales and Victoria, along with other states that support the new system.
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Some states have already rejected the scheme, including Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
Black will be joined on the Council by four members: Law Council of Australia director and former Law Institute of Victoria president Steven Stevens; Brett Walker SC; chartered accountant Fiona Bennett, and Kim Boettcher, a lawyer with expertise in corporate governance and consumer advocacy.
Black was appointed Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia in 1991 and held the position for almost 20 years.
During his term, the Federal Court consolidated its position as the national intermediate appellate court. In addition to his judicial duties, Black had statutory responsibility for the administration of the Court and introduced procedural changes, including the specialist panel system and the docket system.
Black was also responsible for leading and directing the creation of the Victorian Bar Readers’ Course.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Black practised as a barrister at the Victorian Bar.
The president of the Law Council of Australia, Michael Colbran QC, said Black’s consultative nature and extensive experience at the Bar and on the Federal Court bench will prove invaluable in his new role with the Council.
“Mr Black has a strong reputation in the legal profession and I am certain he will fulfil this new role with great effectiveness,” said Colbran.
Both the Victorian and NSW Parliaments have passed legislation applying the Legal Profession Uniform Law, which aims to reduce red tape and create consistency between jurisdictions.
The new scheme is set to commence full operation in the first half of 2015.