What follows are links to the Acts which regulate lawyers in each state and territory, ordered by date of principal commencement, commencement details, and, where available, links to the predecessor Act. South Australia is yet to catch up with the rest of Australia, stuck with its Legal Practitioners Act, 1981. Everyone else has Acts in force entitled Legal Profession Act based on national template legislation, all of which no less luminous a luminary than Kevin Rudd has labelled an ‘unwieldy monster’.
Consistently with my policy of burdening you with talk only of changes rather than of proposals for change, I have spared you until today the news that the national legislation debacle has been elevated from SCAG (Standing Committee of Attornies General) to COAG (the Council of Australian Governments). And that Attorney General McClelland’s people are already drafting the minimalist national lawyer regulation which all the States will have to adopt exactly, else the Commonwealth will grab their lawyer regulation powers altogether. Imagine the transitional provision delights which await practitioners and their unwitting clients! My advice to the strongmen in the Department for Crushing Centralism: don’t allow for any continued operation of the old Acts after the commencement (all provisions in all states on the same easy to remember date) of the new Acts. The modern Acts are:
Legal Profession Act, 2004 (NSW) which commenced on 1 October 2005
Legal Profession Act, 2004 (Vic) most of which commenced on 12 December 2005
Legal Profession Act, 2006 (ACT) most of which commenced on 1 July 2006
Legal Profession Act, 2006 (NT) most of which commenced on 31 March 2007
Legal Profession Act, 2007 (Qld) most of which commenced on 1 July 2007
Legal Profession Act, 2007 (Tas) which commenced on 9 April 2008
Legal Profession Act, 2008 (WA) most of which commenced on 1 February 2009
Victoria uniquely adopts its crazy numbering system. More detail below, alphabetically this time, and Victoria excluded on account of that’s a whole other post waiting for me to finish it (I started it the summer before last).
Australian Capital Territory
Commencement: notified LR 21 June 2006.
Sections 1 and 2 commenced 21 June 2006 (Legislation Act s 75 (1))
remainder commenced 1 July 2006 (s 2)
Previous Act: Legal Practitioners Act 1970
New South Wales
Legal Profession Act 2004
Commencement: 1/10/2005: s. 2 (GG 105, 19/08/2005, p. 4570)
Previous Act: Legal Profession Act 1987 (the link takes you to the version as at 19 August 2005).
Sections 1 and 2: 18/12/2006 [Assent], 18/12/2006 GG 103/01/2007 p.2
Section 708: 01/07/2007 GG 13 28/03/2007 p.3
Remainder: 31/03/2007 GG 13 28/03/2007 p.3
Previous Act: Legal Practitioners Act 1974
Legal Profession Act 2007
Sections 1 and 2: 28/05/2007 [Assent]
Part 3.2 Divisions 1 to 4 [other than sections 217, 223 and 226]: 28/05/2007 (s. 2)
Part 7.6 Division 6 [other than section 698]: 28/05/2007 (s. 2)
s. 342 Costs of assessment: 23/05/2008 [it appears this original section was never proclaimed, and was later repealed and substituted by Consumer Credit (Queensland) and Other Acts Amendment Act 2008 No. 26 (QLD)]
Legal Practitioners Act 1995 (as at 1.7.04)
Legal Profession Act 2004 (as at 21.7.06)
Commencement: 1.3.1982 (Gazette 25.2.1982 p508)
Previous Act: Legal Practitioners Act 1936
Previous Act: Legal Profession Act 1993
Sections 1 and 2: 27 May 2008 (see s. 2(a))
Remainder: 1 Mar 2009 (see s. 2(b) and Gazette 27 Feb 2009 p. 511)
Previous Act: Legal Practice Act 2003
4 Replies to “Links to the states’ and territories’ Legal Profession Acts”
I agree with Padric – if you you have even the slightest doubt about disclosing something disclose it in full and let the Board decide whether they really needed to know about it.
In this instance it seems pretty clear that they would want to be told so they can decide what to make of the offences – Practice Direction No. 4 of 2009 – DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICANTS FOR ADMISSION TO PRACTICE available on the Supreme court website. http://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connec…
Traffic offences such as speeding, careless driving, driving an unregistered vehicle and drink driving should be disclosed. For minor traffic offences it will normally be sufficient to disclose the date, the offence, including the speed or breath alcohol content if relevant, the penalty and confirmation of payment of any fine imposed."
They may well be quite forgiving if the offences are old. However, the other Board – Legal Services Board – has this to say in the context of a decision to grant, renew, amend, suspend or cancel a local practising certificate [which will usually involve looking at recent behaviour – since the last certificate or since admission if it's the first certificate] See ‘Fit and Proper person’ policy statement at http://www.lsb.vic.gov.au/Publications.htm
14.3 Traffic offences
The Board will usually disregard a finding of guilt for the following traffic offences:
speeding or careless driving
driving in an unregistered or uninsured vehicle
drink-driving or drug-driving
it is a second or subsequent offence
the circumstances of the offence indicate the possibility of mental impairment (including alcoholism or drug dependence).
I agree with Stephen that you should disclose all of the offences. Generally people get into trouble with applications for admission for a lack of candour in disclosing past behaviour. Most offences will not cause any problems provided there is complete disclosure of the offence and the courts can be surprisingly forgiving especially of crimes of youths. However where there has been a lack of disclosure then there is recent conduct which arguably shows the person is not a fit and proper person. Disclose and disclose well is my tip.
What do you think the chances are of the Victorian board (or a board in any other state) admitting a Solicitor that meets all requirements for admission, but they also have approx. 10 offences in one State that are all traffic offences? All of the offences would be more than 7 years old… Do you have to disclose all offences to them, regardless of how old?
It might depend on where the offences occurred, and what kind of offences they were. Last time I looked, Victoria did not have spent convictions legislation, and you should check whether any other jurisdiction's spent convictions legislation which might apply operates in relation to disclosures to be made to the admissions authority. Unless the law clearly does not require disclosure because of the age of the offences, it would be very sensible to disclose all of the offences. Generally, traffic offences of the kind ordinary people regularly infringe would not be a bar to admission. If they are more serious offences, consider obtaining representation in relation to your application. Meanwhile, go to the index of this blog, and click on 'admission', and you will find the posts relating to admissions, with many Victorian cases referenced. Have a read of them.