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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1175..


Legal Profession Bill 2006

Mr Corbell , pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (10.38): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

It is my pleasure today to present the Legal Profession Bill 2006. Before entering into the debate on the bill itself, I should advise members that copies of the bill distributed to members contain a small numbering error, which unfortunately occurred at the final production stage of the bill. I have presented two correct copies of the bill in A4 size to the Assembly this morning for the purposes of the official record. I undertake to table the correct copies for members on Tuesday, 9 May.

This bill repeals and replaces the current Legal Practitioners Act 1970. It represents a major milestone in achieving consistency and uniformity in the regulation of the Australian legal profession. Importantly, it will also make it easier for lawyers to practise across state, territory and international borders.

The hotchpotch of state and territory based regulatory regimes for the legal profession has for many years imposed unreasonable burdens on practitioners who want to practise across borders. Further, consumer interests are not served by differences that interfere with the efficient conduct of business.

To address this the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, or SCAG, as it is known, agreed to the development of national model laws to facilitate legal practice across state and territory jurisdictions. The standing committee worked closely with the Law Council of Australia in developing the model and, like my fellow state and territory attorneys-general, I thank the law council for its substantial contribution.

In 2003 a consultation version of the model provisions was released to a large number of stakeholders. These included professional associations for legal practitioners, regulatory authorities, consumer organisations and heads of courts and tribunals. In preparing the bill in accordance with the national model, there has been extensive consultation, in particular with the law society and the bar association. There has also been considerable engagement with other stakeholders at differing levels. I would like to thank all of those bodies and individuals for their contributions, which have been both significant and highly valued.

This bill substantially adopts the national model provisions for the ACT. It is the culmination of several years of hard work and cooperation across all jurisdictions. While the results of the national project are outstanding, it is inevitable that, from time to time, this legislation will require amendment as the national model is revised and amended.


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