Page 1875 - Week 06 - Thursday, 2 May 1991

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Thursday, 2 May 1991


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR COLLAERY (Attorney-General) (10.31): Mr Speaker, I present the Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1991. I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Legal Practitioners Act 1970 deals with matters relating to legal practitioners. Eligibility to apply to the Supreme Court for admission to practice in the Territory currently depends on completion of a law course at an Australian university or at an educational institution specified in the ACT, or admission in a State, another Territory, New Zealand or in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland. In order that the Supreme Court is better able to evaluate the qualifications of applicants for admission, the Bill will amend the provisions relating to applicants to provide that eligibility will depend on completion of a law course at an Australian educational institution prescribed in the Supreme Court Rules or on admission elsewhere in Australia or in New Zealand.

Admission procedures currently require that an applicant appear at a sitting of the Supreme Court. The Bill will provide that an application to the court for enrolment as a barrister and solicitor of the ACT Supreme Court from a person who is already admitted as a legal practitioner in another Australian jurisdiction may be made to the court in writing and that no personal appearance will be necessary. This will result in a saving of court time and facilities and also expense to interstate practitioners who must make a special trip to Canberra to attend an admission ceremony. These two amendments will rationalise procedures relating to the admission and enrolment of practitioners and bring the ACT to the forefront of admission procedures operating in Australia.

Provisions in the Bill will further the process of the globalisation of legal services, a topic currently under consideration by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. The administrative admission procedure will streamline the enrolment in the Territory of legal practitioners from another Australian jurisdiction. The removal of admission as of right for a practitioner from the United Kingdom will assist in achieving a more uniform Australian approach to overseas admissions.

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