I have spared you the endless articles on the glacial progress towards national uniformity. Quite a long time ago now, upon the release of the Sallman Report which gave rise eventually to the Legal Profession Bill, I had lunch with the Legal Ombudsman and she predicted that it would be some time yet before any new law would come into force. And so it was — years. The Legal Profession Act, 2004‘s commencement was only just achieved in 2005. But now the buzz about needing to do something about the harmonisation which got derailed has ramped up. People are talking about rewriting the whole thing and using raw power to make the states pass the same laws. People like the Attorney-General.
And these days, you have to listen, because, for example, the Evidence Bill, 2008 (Vic.) was passed not so long ago after talk that it might happen for years beforehand so that now NSW, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and the federal courts all have the same evidence law, though Victoria’s Act is yet to commence. National uniformity in legal regulation would be a good thing, except that I’m hoping I’m just getting towards the end of the period when every time I think I more or less know the Legal Profession Act, 2004 (Victoria’s second longest), I find something I’d missed. Then again if none of the lawyers in the land quite understand the law that governs them it can only be good for business, and if it really does turn into a national law maybe someone will fly me up to Cooktown or Kunnunnurra to defend a suit for fees. Maybe the urge to publish Warne’s Annotated Legal Profession Acts would prove irresistible upon the featuring on the cover someone famous saying ‘no Australian lawyer should be without this book’ becoming a possibility.