National Elder Law and Succession Law Committee
In recognition of Australia's ageing population and the related growth in demand for elder law legal advice and services, the Law Council has a National Elder Law and Succession Law Committee to respond to issues of national significance in this growing area of the law.
The objective of the National Elder Law and Succession Law Committee is to represent the views of the legal profession at the national level on matters related to elder law and succession law. It will achieve this objective by monitoring government initiatives relating to elder law and succession law, proactively initiating or advocating for policy initiatives relating to elder law and succession law, and by conducting community education on legal issues related to the elderly.
The National Elder Law and Succession Law Committee consists of members taken from the constituent bodies of the Law Council of Australia, including one Co-Chairperson from the Law Society of NSW and one Co-Chairperson from the Law Institute of Victoria. The current membership of the Committee consists of:
- Pam Suttor (Co-Chair) - Law Society of NSW
- Carole Ainio (Co-Chair) - Law Institute of Victoria
- Kathy Wilson - Law Institute of Victoria
- Peter Hanks QC - the Victorian Bar
- Judy Morris - ACT Law Society
- Brian Herd - Queensland Law Society
- Peter Myhill - Law Society of South Australia
- Anita Smith - Law Society of Tasmania
- Elizabeth Heenan - Law Society of Western Australia
- Susan Fielding - Law Society of Western Australia
- John Hockley - Western Australian Bar Association
- Anthony Young - Law Society of the Northern Territory
The Committee has identified a range of issues which it will pursue at first instance, including:
- uniformity of enduring powers of attorney;
- a solution to the trend of excluding legal practitioners from aged care proceedings; and
- a clearer approach to the increasing numbers of informal substitute decision makers.
Other issues that the Group will consider at a later date include:
- Succession law reform, including harmonised legislation relating to the acceptance of informal wills and intestacy.
- Matters relating to administration of estates, including an expected SCAG consultation in late 2009.
- Mutual recognition and harmonisation of specialisation and accreditation in elder law.
- Issues related to elder abuse, including capacity issues, undue influence, entering into guarantees and reverse mortgages in the interests of others, and misuses of influence by carers.
- Issues relating to guardianship laws.
- Certain specific issues in relation to superannuation, such as the relationship between superannuation and power of attorney.
- Probate practice, including new practice notes and 'do it yourself' probate reforms.
- Recognition of alternative forms of wills, including Koranic and customary law wills.
- A national births, deaths and marriages register.
- Issues arising from aged care and retirement villages.
- National regulation of trustee corporations.
- Costs and access to justice issues that relate specifically to the elderly.
- Family agreements, including in relation to 'granny flats' and Centrelink.
- Age discrimination and human rights issues affecting the elderly.
- Issues relating to advanced directives.
For further information on the work of the Committee, contact: