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Uniform law welcomed

Briefs

Cite as: August 2015 89 (8) LIJ, p.15

The Legal Profession Uniform Law (LPUL) started in Victoria and NSW on 1 July.

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula welcomed the start of the common legal services market across two states, which will be regulated under a uniform law overseen by an inter-jurisdictional Legal Services Council.

“Lawyers and their clients will begin to see benefits in reduced red tape, greater interstate consistency and improved consumer protections,” Mr Pakula said.

“The introduction of Uniform Law in Victoria and NSW is the first step towards a national scheme, and we look forward to other states coming on board.”

“These reforms offer the prospect of significantly reduced interstate barriers, while improving consumer protections and safeguarding an independent legal profession.”

With 70 per cent of Australia’s lawyers in Victoria and New South Wales, the alignment will make it simpler for lawyers to do business across state borders, make Australia more accessible to international legal services markets, and improve protections for clients.

Mr Pakula attended the LIV’s LPUL cocktail party on 30 June. Guest speaker was the Hon Michael Black QC, former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia and inaugural chair of the Legal Services Council.

Mr Black welcomed the Uniform Law but said it was important for each state to retain its unique legal culture and heritage.

“Victoria’s history is very deep in law, deep, honourable and progressive,” Mr Black said.

“What you want to do is to preserve it, make it work well, and give it a national character, and that is exactly what this reform has done.

“It is a great piece of reform . . . for consumer protection and progress within the legal profession. [It is] something behind which we can stand, individually but united on the platform of national reform. That’s very exciting.

“There has been tremendous cooperation on all levels, from the Law Society and the LIV, the Attorneys-General, legal services commissions and our own staff who have worked extraordinarily hard.”

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