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Uniform Law news leading up to July 2015

Uniform Law news leading up to July 2015

By LIV Media

Uniform Laws 

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In addition to correspondence via email and letters to our members, the LIV provided various online updates in the lead up to the commencement of the Legal Profession Uniform Law on 1 July 2015. All news and announcements published during that time are listed below. 

30 June 2015

Under s174(4) of the Legal Profession Uniform Law, law practices are not required to disclose to clients where the total legal costs are not likely to exceed $750 (excluding GST and disbursements). In its 25 June Law in Brief, the LIV suggested that law practices might still be required to notify clients of their rights under s174(2) of the Uniform Law. The Legal Services Board + Commissioner has clarified that law practices will not be required to provide such disclosure, as s174(2) only applies if there is an obligation to disclose under s174(1).

30 June 2015

Rule 36 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 requires law practices to make out a receipt as soon as practicable after trust money is received or after the law practice receives confirmation of the deposit from the relevant ADI. Rule 36(4) requires law practices to give the original receipt as soon as practicable to the person from whom the trust money was received – it only needed to be given ‘on request’ under the Legal Profession Regulations 2005. The LIV is considering the practical issues regarding compliance with rule 36(4) based on practitioner concerns, and will provide advice to members shortly. 

29 June 2015

The Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 have been amended as follows:

  • Rule 52(6)(a) has been amended to provide that statements need not be provided where the account has been open for less than six months rather than twelve months. Statements need not be provided where the account has been open for less than six months under the current Legal Profession Regulations.
  • Rule 66(1) has been amended to refer to rule 65 rather than rule 64. Rule 66(1) requires a law practice to appoint a suitably qualified person within a designated class. Currently, it refers to designation under rule 64 when it is in fact rule 65 that designates the class.
29 June 2015

Government lawyers will be required to hold a practising certificate under the Legal Profession Uniform Law. Transitional regulations (available here) have been made which provide that government lawyers are only required to hold a practising certificate from 1 October 2015. However, the Legal Services Board + Commissioner recommends that applications for practising certificates be made by 31 August 2015 to ensure that they can be granted by 1 October 2015.   

26 June 2015

The LIV has made some amendments to its cost precedents which launched on 17 June 2015. Details of the changes and updated precedents are available here

17 June 2015

The LIV has released a series of costs precedents which are available free to members in Word format here.

17 June 2015

Rule 11 of the Legal Profession Uniform Legal Practice (Solicitors) Rules 2015 requires the use of various forms referred to in that rule when Australian legal practitioners explain security documents to borrowers and guarantors. The LIV has produced updated forms, available here.

12 June 2015

The LIV has released two checklists to assist law practitioners and practices in the lead up to the commencement of the Legal Profession Uniform Law and beyond. These checklists should be read together with the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (Vic), the Uniform Rules, the LIV’s Legal Profession Uniform Law Guide and fact sheets.

12 June 2015

The LIV has received numerous queries about the wording to be specified on practitioner stamps. Suggested wording is, ‘An Australian legal practitioner within the meaning of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria)’.

12 June 2015

The LIV has released two further fact sheets on the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015  and Disciplinary Matters .

2 June 2015

The LIV has released a comprehensive handbook, Legal Profession Uniform Law Guide, to help practitioners and law practices learn about and adapt to the requirements under the new regime.

28 May 2015  

The Legal Profession Uniform Law Application 2014 (Vic), which includes the Legal Profession Uniform Law as Schedule 1, will commence on 1 July 2015. The media release from the Hon. Martin Pakula, Attorney-General, announcing the commencement is available here.

27 May 2015  

The Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 include the new uniform standard costs disclosure form which can be used where legal costs are not likely to exceed $3000 (excluding GST and disbursements). A standalone version of the disclosure form is available here from the Legal Services Council. The Legal Services Council has also released an information sheet for practitioners regarding the disclosure form, and an information sheet for consumers which law practices should provide to clients together with the completed disclosure form. The Legal Service Council disclosure form and information sheets are available here.

27 May 2015

The subordinate legislation under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (Vic) will be found in Uniform Rules comprising:

  • Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015
  • Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015
  • Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2015
  • Legal Profession Uniform Legal Pracgice (Solicitors) Rules 2015
  • Legal Profession Uniform Law Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015

The Uniform Rules were made on 27 May 2015 and are available here.

23 April 2015

Partnerships of Incorporated Legal Practices protected under Legal Profession Uniform Law thanks to successful LIV advocacy

The LIV has successfully negotiated an amendment to the Legal Profession Uniform Law that will allow partnerships of Incorporated Legal Practices (PoILPs) to continue under the new uniform law.  PoILPs are a particular form of corporate structure adopted by a number of small and medium sized law practices in Victoria. Members contacted the LIV with concerns that they could no longer operate under a PoILP structure after the uniform law commenced on 1 July 2015. Members stressed that a restructure of their practices would have significant financial and operational implications for their legal practice and requested that the LIV advocate on their behalf.

The LIV listened to the concerns of our members and responded quickly, undertaking consultations and exploring with members various possible solutions. In a matter of only weeks, a proposed amendment to the Act was agreed to and successfully negotiated with the relevant government agencies. The Act received Royal Assent yesterday and commences today. The success of the LIV’s lobbying efforts means that PoILPs now continue to be protected under the Uniform Law and otherwise affected legal practices will no longer be required to restructure.

Our success on this issue illustrates the value of members working together and advocating for solutions through the LIV. 


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