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Stop turf wars: Faine


Cite as: (2002) 76(10) LIJ, p.16

The legal profession needed to end its infighting and pursuit of self-serving issues if it wished to successfully argue “big picture” issues such as public liability and medical indemnity insurance, broadcaster and former lawyer Jon Faine said.

Speaking at the Pitcher Partners/President’s Luncheon on 4 September, Mr Faine said the legal profession had been “outgunned” during the recent insurance debates by organisations representing insurers and doctors.

This had happened because the fragmentation of the Australian legal profession had led to an ineffective national body, he said.

“The legal profession is negligent in advancing its own interests. If you were representing clients the way you represent yourselves you’d be sued. The doctors have completely cleaned you up in this debate.”

He said the legal profession had to end the turf wars that had plagued it for many years so that it could ably lead the debate on bigger picture issues such as the development of a genuine rights culture.

An example of this was the Law Institute’s pursuit of maintaining its role in regulating the legal profession. Mr Faine said the Institute’s position on this issue was “indefensible” and simply served to prolong the debate.

“In the same way that the Institute tried to defend the conveyancing monopoly, yet now you don’t have a conveyancing monopoly and we haven’t seen the end of civilisation as we know it.

“Clean up the legal profession so it’s not even an argument. The public can see how it should be organised and how it’s in their interest and then you’ll have time, attention and energy to focus on other things.”

He said there were many problems that had led to the disenfranchisement of people from the legal system and needed the legal profession to become involved. He pointed to delays at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, delays and high costs at Family Court and the fragmentation of pro bono.


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