Legal Profession Act 2004 No 112
Current version for 4 July 2014 to date (accessed 22 December 2014 at 12:21)
Chapter 7Part 7.4

Part 7.4 Professional bodies

Division 1 Bar Association

694   Report on committees

(1)  The Bar Council is, at least once in each year, and at such times as the Attorney General directs, required to report to the Attorney General on the committees of the Bar Association and the Bar Council.
(2)  The report is:
(a)  to list the committees that existed at any time during the last preceding 12 months or the period since the last report (whichever is the shorter period), and
(b)  to specify the functions and membership of each committee, and
(c)  to include such other information relating to the committees as the Attorney General directs.
(3)  The report need not refer to any committee of a kind that the Attorney General for the time being exempts from the operation of this section.

695   Lay representation on committees

(1)  The Attorney General may, after consultation with the Bar Council, direct, by written order, that any specified committees or kinds of committees of the Bar Association or Bar Council must include in their membership a specified or determinable number of lay members.
(2)  Except as provided by subsection (3), a direction has no effect to the extent that it would require the membership of a committee to have more than one-quarter of its membership composed of lay members.
(3)  The membership of any professional conduct committee must include at least 3 lay members.
(4)  A lay member has such voting and other rights and such obligations as are provided in the constitution of the committee or as are provided by the regulations, and the regulations prevail to the extent of any inconsistency.
(5)  For the purposes of this section, a lay member is a person who is not an Australian lawyer.

696   Functions of Bar Council

(1)  In addition to its other functions, the Bar Council may:
(a)  take such steps as in the opinion of the Bar Council may be necessary or proper for or with respect to the investigation in accordance with this Act of any question:
(i)  as to the conduct of a barrister, or
(ii)  as to the conduct of a person who is or was a clerk to a barrister or who is or was employed or paid by a barrister in connection with the barrister’s practice as a barrister, or
(iii)  as to conduct that is, or may be, a contravention of a provision of Part 2.2, or
(iv)  as to conduct that is, or may be, a contravention of a provision of Part 2.7 (Legal practice by foreign lawyers), and
(b)  appear by barrister or solicitor before, and be heard by, the Supreme Court in the exercise of the functions of the Supreme Court under this Act or otherwise in relation to barristers or locally registered foreign lawyers registered by the Bar Council, and
(c)  institute prosecutions and other proceedings for the breach of any of the provisions of this Act, the regulations or the legal profession rules, and
(d)  appear by barrister or solicitor before, and be heard by, any court in any matter affecting the Bar Association or its members or in which the Bar Association is concerned or interested, and
(e)  recover as a debt due to the Bar Association any money payable to the Bar Association under this Act or the regulations.
(2)  The Bar Council may delegate to any of its committees, to an officer of the Bar Council or to an employee of the Bar Association the exercise of any of the Bar Council’s functions under this Act, other than this power of delegation.
(3)  A reference in this section to a barrister (except in relation to the appearance by the Bar Council before a court) is a reference to:
(a)  a person to whom Chapter 4 (Complaints and discipline) applies, other than an Australian legal practitioner who is, or was at the relevant time, a solicitor, or
(b)  an Australian-registered foreign lawyer to whom Chapter 4 applies and who is not, or was not, restricted to practice only as or in the manner of a solicitor.
(4)  Without limiting any other provision of this section, the Bar Council may investigate and bring proceedings for a breach of Part 2.2 by any person, including a lay person.

Division 2 Law Society

697   Report on committees

(1)  The Law Society Council is, at least once in each year, and at such times as the Attorney General directs, required to report to the Attorney General on the committees of the Law Society and the Law Society Council.
(2)  The report is:
(a)  to list the committees that existed at any time during the last preceding 12 months or the period since the last report (whichever is the shorter period),
(b)  to specify the functions and membership of each committee, and
(c)  to include such other information relating to the committees as the Attorney General directs.
(3)  The report need not refer to any committee of a kind that the Attorney General for the time being exempts from the operation of this section.

698   Lay representation on committees

(1)  The Attorney General may, after consultation with the Law Society Council, direct, by written order, that any specified committees or kinds of committees of the Law Society or Law Society Council must include in their membership a specified or determinable number of lay members.
(2)  Except as provided by subsection (3), a direction has no effect to the extent that it would require the membership of a committee to have more than one-quarter of its membership composed of lay members.
(3)  The membership of any professional conduct committee must include at least 3 lay members.
(4)  A lay member has such voting and other rights and such obligations as are provided in the constitution of the committee or as are provided by the regulations, and the regulations prevail to the extent of any inconsistency.
(5)  For the purposes of this section, a lay member is a person who is not an Australian lawyer.

699   Functions of Law Society Council

(1)  In addition to its other functions, the Law Society Council may:
(a)  take such steps as in the opinion of the Law Society Council may be necessary or proper for or with respect to the investigation in accordance with this Act of any question:
(i)  as to the conduct of a solicitor, or
(ii)  as to the conduct of a person who is or was a clerk to a solicitor or who is or was employed or paid by a solicitor in connection with the solicitor’s practice as a solicitor, or
(iii)  as to conduct that is, or may be, a contravention of a provision of Part 2.2, or
(iv)  as to conduct that is, or may be, a contravention of a provision of Part 2.7 (Legal practice by foreign lawyers), and
(b)  appear by barrister or solicitor before, and be heard by, the Supreme Court in the exercise of the functions of the Supreme Court under this Act or otherwise in relation to solicitors or locally registered foreign lawyers registered by the Law Society Council, and
(c)  institute prosecutions and other proceedings for the breach of any of the provisions of this Act, the regulations or the legal profession rules, and
(d)  appear by barrister or solicitor before, and be heard by, any court in any matter affecting the Law Society or its members or in which the Law Society is concerned or interested, and
(e)  recover as a debt due to the Law Society any money payable to the Law Society under this Act or the regulations.
(2)  The Law Society Council also has the function of disseminating information to increase public awareness of the requirements of this Act and the Corporations Act 2001 of the Commonwealth relating to solicitors who negotiate the making of or act in respect of regulated mortgages (within the meaning of Part 3.5 (Mortgage practices and mortgage investment schemes)) or are involved in managed investment schemes.
(3)  The Law Society Council may delegate to any of its committees, to an officer of the Law Society Council or to an employee of the Law Society the exercise of any of the Law Society Council’s functions under this Act, other than this power of delegation.
(4)  A reference in this section to a solicitor (except in relation to the appearance by the Law Society Council before a court) is a reference to:
(a)  a person to whom Chapter 4 (Complaints and discipline) applies, other than an Australian legal practitioner who is, or was at the relevant time, entitled to engage in legal practice only as or in the manner of a barrister, or
(b)  an Australian-registered foreign lawyer to whom Chapter 4 applies and who is not, or was not, restricted to practice only as or in the manner of a barrister.
(5)  Without limiting any other provision of this section, the Law Society Council may investigate and bring proceedings for a breach of Part 2.2 by any person, including a lay person.

Division 3 Annual reports

700   Council to submit annual report

(1)  As soon as practicable after 30 June, but on or before 31 December, in each year, the Bar Council and the Law Society Council are each required to prepare and forward to the Attorney General a report of its work and activities under this Act for the 12 months ending on 30 June in that year.
(2)  The Attorney General is to lay the report, or cause it to be laid, before both Houses of Parliament as soon as practicable after receiving the report.
(3)  A Council is to include the following information in its annual report:
(a)  the number and type of complaints made to the Council during the year,
(b)  the sources of those complaints,
(c)  the number of consumer disputes referred to mediation during the year and the results of mediation,
(d)  the number and type of complaints investigated during the year by the Council and an independent investigator under section 532,
(e)  the number and type of complaints dismissed during the year by the Council,
(f)  the number and type of complaints in respect of which an Australian lawyer was reprimanded or cautioned during the year by the Council,
(g)  the number and type of complaints in respect of which proceedings were instituted in the Tribunal during the year by the Council,
(h)  the number of matters referred to mediation under section 336 or Division 5 of Part 4.3 during the year and the outcome of those matters,
(i)  the number of compensation orders made under section 540 (2) (c),
(j)  a summary of the results of proceedings in the Tribunal completed during the year,
(k)  the number of complaints not finally dealt with at the end of the year (including the number at each stage of proceedings),
(l)  the age of complaints not finally dealt with at the end of the year (that is, the number of those complaints made respectively in that year and in each previous year),
(m)  time intervals involved in the complaints process, including the time between the receipt of a complaint and the decision of the Council under Part 4.5 in respect of the complaint,
(n)  information about the costs incurred by the Council during the reporting year in relation to its regulatory functions, as certified by an auditor,
(o)  in the case of the Law Society Council—the total amount paid from the Public Purpose Fund and the Fidelity Fund during the year,
(p)  such other information as may be prescribed by the regulations or as the Attorney General directs to be included.
(4)  Matters included in a report must not identify individual Australian lawyers unless their names have already lawfully been made public under Part 4.10 (Publishing disciplinary action).
(5)  This section does not affect any other provision of this Act requiring a report to be made to the Attorney General.
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