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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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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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 (LIVing Ethics workshops and customised in-house ethics seminars), administers the Ethics Committee, produces Ethics Guidelines and administers the Ethics Liaison Group.

The LIV Ethics Guidance Telephone service is staffed by expert ethics lawyers who provide ethical guidance to several thousand legal practitioners each year. Please note: The department does not take calls from or provide guidance to the public.

The LIV uses its best endeavours to maintain confidentiality over all communications between practitioners and the Ethics Advice Line. However in limited circumstances, we can be required by law to disclose information to others.

One such situation can arise where the practitioner is under investigation by the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner.

The Legal Profession Uniform Law gives broad (but not unlimited) powers to the regulatory authorities. If a conversation with the Ethics Advice Line becomes relevant to the subject matter of a complaint, and the regulator approaches the LIV and requests our records or information about that conversation, the Uniform Law expressly abrogates the protection of privilege and confidentiality: s466(1)(d) and (2). The LIV, like anyone else (including other lawyers), may be called upon to hand over documents or information in the course of an investigation. The information will not be protected by privilege if that happens.

In many cases, it will in any event be in a practitioner’s bests interests for this information to be handed over. For example, a practitioner under investigation might tell the investigator that she thought she was doing the right thing and she had discussed her options at the time with the Law Institute. If the regulator then asks us to confirm the contents of that conversation, and it is consistent with the practitioner’s explanation, then that might assist the practitioner in the investigation.

Information and documents that are given to the regulator under s371 can only be used for limited purposes: see s466(4) LPUL.

Ethics Guidance Telephone Service 03 9607 9336

The Ethics Guidance Telephone Service is staffed from Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm. Queries can also be sent by email to ethics@liv.asn.au.

Legal Ethics CPD

The LIV is the leading provider of legal ethics education throughout Victoria. Our expert ethics presenters deliver workshops, seminars and online learning videos to more than 4500 lawyers every year. Interactive LIVing Ethics workshops examine real-life scenarios to determine the best practice response across a variety of ethical dilemmas. Available on demand online, LIVing Ethics helps you understand how your obligations can be carried out practically in your day-to-day practice. Online LIVing Ethics are complimentary for practising and new solicitor members, and are available to other LIV member categories at a reduced fee.

Customised in-house ethics seminars can also be arranged and delivered at your firm, ensuring your solicitors work through scenarios that are most relevant to them. More information on how to book an in-house seminar is in our frequently asked questions below.

Upcoming Activities View All Activities

  • Prospective Accredited Specialist Networking Evening

    Accredited Specialisation offers the opportunity to set yourself apart as an expert in your area of law. If you have 4+ years of post-admission experience and are interested in applying for accredited specialisation in 2018, we invite you to join us for an informal networking evening at the LIV.

    Thu 26 Oct - 05:30 PM
    LIV Lecture Theatre

    470 Bourke St, Melbourne

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  • Workplace Relations Conference

    The LIV Workplace Relations Conference 2017 will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest developments in employment law and workplace relations practice.

    Fri 27 Oct - 08:30 AM
    Sheraton Melbourne Hotel

    27 Little Collins St, Melourne

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I book an in-house ethics seminar for my firm?

    The Ethics and Professional Practice department offers customised in-house ethics seminars which are suitable for delivery to all sizes of groups. You can arrange a seminar to be held at your firm by phoning the Professional Development Department on 9607 9318.

    Features:

    • Seminar run for one hour and count as one compulsory ethics and professional responsibility CPD unit.
    • Delivered on-site at your firm for your convenience.
    • Tailored and relevant to the specific practice areas of your firm.
    • Consists of a detailed and engaging program.
    • Delivered by LIV ethics solicitors who are at the forefront of providing complex ethics advice.

    Seminars can be tailored so they are relevant to your main practice area. If you have any suggestions or specific requirements, please discuss these together with pricing with the Ethics and Professional Practice department at the time of booking.

    Please note that seminars are usually offered to groups of ten or more members. If you have fewer than ten members in your organisation, you may like to join with another firm for a combined seminar.

  • 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).