The Legal Profession Advisory Council reviewed the structure and regulation of the legal profession. The Advisory Council reviewed the rules governing the professional practices of barristers and solicitors. It reported to the Attorney General on the operation or effect of these rules, particularly where the Advisory Council considered a rule restrictive or anti-competitive.
The Advisory Council of nine members was appointed by the Attorney General and included -
* two practising barristers (one nominated by the Bar Council)
* three practising solicitors (two nominated by the Law Society Council)
* four community representatives (of whom not more than one may be, or be eligible to be admitted as a solicitor or barrister). (1)
The Attorney General could refer any matter relating to the legal profession or any proposed regulations to the Advisory Council for review. (2) Reports by the Advisory Council have covered -
* Selection, Appointment and Recognition of Senior Counsel under the Trade Practices Act
* Incorporation of Solicitors' Practices under the Corporations Law
* Multidisciplinary Partnerships and Solicitors' Professional Code of Conduct
* Barrister and Solicitor Advocate Immunity from Actions in Negligence for Conduct during Hearings and Connected Pre-trial Work
* Review of Lawyers Advertising.
By 30 June 1995 the Council was a business unit within the Regulatory Services program of the Attorney General's Department (3) where it remained until the Department was restructured in 2001/2002 and the Council was placed in the Community and Regulatory Services Division. (4)
The Legal Profession Advisory Council was re-established under Part 7.2 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Act No.112, 2004). The Advisory Council then consisted of eleven members appointed by the Attorney General and included:
* one appointed as the Chairperson of the Advisory Council
* two local legal practitioners who were barristers, of whom one was to be selected from a panel of at least five persons nominated by the Bar Council
* three local legal practitioners who were solicitors, of whom two were to be selected from a panel of at least five persons nominated by the Law Society Council, and
* five lay persons appointed to represent the community. (5)
In June 2006 the Attorney General announced that the Legal Profession Advisory Council would be abolished when the current members' term came to an end in December 2006, as regulatory decisions would be made at a national level. (6) The Legal Profession Advisory Council was abolished from 7 December 2006 by the Legal Professional Further Amendment Act 2006 (Act No.116, 2006). (7)
(1) Legal Profession Act, 1987 Section 58
(2) Legal Profession Act, 1987 Section 59
(3) Report of the Attorney General's Department for the year ended 30 June 1995 p. 7, 62,
(4) Report of the Attorney General's Department for the year ended 30 June 2002 p. 7, 38, 49.
(5) Legal Profession Act 2004 (Act No.112, 2004). ss.682-683.
(6) Attorney General's Department, Annual Report 2005/2006, p.109.
(7) Legal Profession Further Amendment Act 2006 (Act No.116, 2006) Clause 28, inserting in the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Act No.112, 2004)Schedule 9, Part 3 s.33 abolishing the Council.