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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2323 ..

Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Wood, on behalf of Mr Stanhope , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (11.46): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill is the sixth bill in a series of bills dealing with legislation within the justice and community safety portfolio. The bill makes a number of substantive as well as technical amendments to the legislation. In the latter regard, the bill removes a number of redundant provisions in the Pawnbrokers Act 1902 and the Second-hand Dealers Act 1906, and brings the provisions in line with current drafting style. The bill also transfers the licensing function for pawnbrokers from the Magistrates Court to the ACT Office of Fair Trading, in line with recent changes to the licensing of second-hand dealers.

An amendment to the Agents Act 1968 remedies the deficiencies in the conflict of interest provisions for the ACT Agents Board in line with a recent recommendation of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The amendments to the Legal Practitioners Act 1970 allow the statutory interest account to be used by the Law Society in assisting with applications for admission or enrolment and regulatory action. In addition, the amendments bar claims on the fidelity fund resulting from solicitors undertaking a mortgage practice. These amendments protect the fidelity fund from claims unrelated to the practice of law. The amendments also respond to a recent report from ASIC indicating that mortgage schemes administered by solicitors have a very high default rate of 50 per cent across Australia, with rates as high as 80 per cent in some jurisdictions. These amendments were prepared in consultation with the ACT Law Society.

An amendment to section 13 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1992 varies the way judgments on the crown are to be served and paid. The current process in section 13 of the act has only been utilised once in 10 years, and this occurrence highlighted some deficiencies in the process. The new process will allow the party in whose favour a judgment is given to give a copy of the judgment to the Treasurer, who can direct how the judgment is to be satisfied, after 21 days.

Amendments to the Public Trustee Act 1985 and associated acts ensure that trust moneys are managed in accordance with section 51 of the Financial Management Act 1996 and allow for the effective management of trust monies in accordance with "prudent person" principles.

The bill also amends the Administration and Probate Act 1929 and the Consumer Credit (Administration) Act 1996 to provide that the GST may be charged on the cost of administering an estate or on the commission for a finance broking transaction.

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