Find out more about the Ethics Committee, including upcoming meeting dates, and search for specific rulings from the last 10 years.

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LIV Ethics Guidelines are published with the approval of the LIV Council. Each Guideline is published after rigorous research, drafting and consultation.

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Read through the current conduct rules for legal professionals and access previous rules to supplement your research.

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About Legal Ethics

Solicitors are officers of the court. A solicitor’s duty to the court and the administration of justice is paramount. A solicitor’s other fundamental duties include acting in the best interests of a client, being honest and courteous, and delivering legal services competently, diligently, and in a timely manner. These duties are set out in the Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2015.

Need Help with a Legal Ethical Dilemma?

The Ethics and Professional Practice department provides ethics guidance, develops and delivers ethics education including customised in-house ethics seminars, administers the Ethics Committee, produces Ethics Guidelines and administers the Ethics Liaison Group.

Upcoming Activities View All Activities

  • CPD Program: February - March 2018

    Short on points? The LIV has you covered. Our 2018 program offers sessions covering all practice areas - available in-person, online and via video.


    CPD Program: February - March 2018

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • I am not sure if my client understands what’s going on. Can I take the client’s instructions?

    Solicitors can only take instructions from clients with the capacity to instruct.

    Where a client is clearly lacking capacity, instructions should not be followed.  The client may need a guardian or other form of authorised representative.  Although that raises its own issues, a client who is clearly lacking capacity is a relatively straightforward problem.  The situation is far more difficult where a solicitor merely has some doubt.

    If you have any real doubt, it is sensible to obtain independent confirmation of your client’s status.  Clients will often be less resistant to this suggestion if you explain that the independent assessment is in their own best interests, so that the instructions they are giving will not later be challenged.

    The law and some observations are discussed in Kantor & Anor v Vosahlo [2004] VSCA 235, a Court of Appeal decision from December 2004. Some factors considered by the Court were:

    • Who bears the burden of proving the Will?
    • The capacity of a testator with dementia
    • The evidence of the solicitor present at the execution as to the capacity of the testator
    • Medical evidence as to the capacity of the testator to have testamentary capacity in periods of lucidity.

    For clients with reduced testamentary capacity, some suggestions are:

    • Have a medical professional (such as a doctor or nurse) attend immediately prior to obtaining instructions/attestation.

    For clients with long term intellectual impairment, you may need to:

    • First have authoritative medical opinion as to capacity;
    • Then obtain instructions very carefully;

    Guidance is available for disability related legal issues at Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc.

  • What is involved in obtaining a rapid ruling from the Ethics Committee?

    If you would like to obtain a rapid ruling from the Ethics Committee, please see the Guideline for Ethics Committee Rapid Rulings (PDF) to find out whether you are eligible.

  • How can I request a rapid ruling from the Ethics Committee?

    Fill out and return the Request for Ethics Committee Rapid Ruling Form (PDF).