Legal Profession Act 2004 No 112
494 Purposes and objects
(1) The purposes of this Chapter are as follows:
(a) to provide a nationally consistent scheme for the discipline of the legal profession in this jurisdiction, in the interests of the administration of justice and for the protection of clients of law practices and the public generally,
(b) to promote and enforce the professional standards, competence and honesty of the legal profession,
(c) to provide a means of redress for complaints about lawyers,
(d) to enable lay persons to participate in complaints and disciplinary processes involving lawyers to ensure that community interests and perspectives are recognised,
Note. Sections 695 and 698 provide for lay representation on committees of the Bar Association, Bar Council, Law Society and Law Society Council.
(e) to give complainants, lawyers and other participants in the system immunity from civil liability for communications made by them in good faith in connection with the complaints and disciplinary system.
(2) The objects of this Chapter relating to lay persons and the clients of law practices are as follows:
(a) to give every person the right to complain about the conduct of lawyers,
(b) to ensure that information is readily available to lay persons about the means of redress that are available under the scheme,
(c) to give clients of law practices access to sufficient advice and assistance in order to make complaints in accordance with their rights and responsibilities under this Chapter,
(d) to promote transparency and openness for lay persons at all levels of the operation of the scheme, subject to the need to preserve confidentiality in appropriate circumstances,
(e) to provide an opportunity for mediation of consumer disputes relating to legal services,
(f) to provide complainants with a reasonable opportunity to comment on statements of the lawyer against whom the complaint is made before the complaint is disposed of,
(g) to ensure that complainants receive adequate notice of the commencement and status of the disciplinary process at relevant stages of the process (including notice of the dismissal of complaints and the reasons for the dismissal),
(h) to give complainants the right to seek an independent review of decisions of Councils to dismiss complaints or reprimand Australian legal practitioners.
(3) The objects of this Chapter relating to the providers of legal services are as follows:
(a) to ensure that information is readily available to lawyers about the means of redress that are available under the scheme,
(b) to ensure that the rules of natural justice (being rules for procedural fairness) are applied to any disciplinary proceedings taken against lawyers,
(c) to ensure that lawyers are aware of the standards of honesty, competence and diligence expected of them.
(4) The Commissioner is to keep under review the provisions and operation of this Chapter for the purpose of:
(a) ascertaining whether the scheme established by this Chapter meets the purposes and objects of this Chapter, and
(b) identifying modifications that may ensure that those purposes and objects are better met,
but this subsection does not affect the making or carrying out of other arrangements for reviewing the provisions or operation of the provisions of this Act or of this Act generally.