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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2644 ..

Law Reform (continuing):

... concerns expressed earlier this century, as to the potential for the maintenance of actions to give rise to an increase in litigation, might now be considered of lesser importance than the problems which face the ordinary litigant in funding litigation and gaining access to the Courts.

As the old common law doctrines have waned, our courts have designed appropriate rules to deal with current issues. In 1996 the Full Court of the ACT Supreme Court set out new rules of conduct in speculative actions on the basis that the doctrines had ceased to be relevant in the ACT. In developing this area of its inherent jurisdiction, the court noted:

... the recognition by the courts and by the legal profession itself of the propriety of the speculative action by no means requires or justifies a relaxation of the standards of professional conduct on the part of lawyers who are prepared to act for plaintiffs on a speculative basis. The conflicts of interest remain, and the need for the solicitor to act, aware of the conflicts and astute to the fiduciary role, is not diminished.

Both the offence and tort of maintenance, and of champerty, have been formally abolished in many Australian and overseas jurisdictions. Most recently, in 1995, together with the common law offence of being a common barrator, they were abolished in New South Wales.

Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Public Access to Government Contracts Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Quinlan, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (10.53): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present to the Assembly the Public Access to Government Contracts Amendment Bill 2002 which delivers on the commitment made in the government response to the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration's Report No 28 on the Public Access to Government Contracts Act 2000.

In its response to the report, the government stated that it fully supports the principles expressed in the committee's recommendations and would prepare an amendment to the Public Access to Government Contracts Act 2000 in order to (a) confirm the responsibilities of chief executive officers to put in place appropriate measures to ensure compliance with the requirements of the act, and (b) specify agency reporting requirements under the act.

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