Migration Law Committee
- Ms Georgina Costello SC, Chair
- Ms Valerie da Gama Pereira, Deputy Chair
The Migration Law Committee
- provides specialist advice to government through the Law Council on substantive migration law issues;
- attends stakeholder meetings with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
- provides Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events; and
- provides network opportunities for Australian lawyers in the field of migration law.
The Migration Law Committee represents the Law Council as an observer at Australian Human Rights Council meetings discussing the current Australian policy of offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
The Immigration Lawyers Association of Australasia (ILAA) was established in 2003. The ILAA joined the Law Council as part of the International Law Section (ILS) in 2005. In 2012, the ILAA changed its name to the Migration Law Committee.
Dual regulation for migration lawyers being dismantled
On 8 May 2015 the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, announced that the Australian Government would adopt a majority of the 24 recommendations made in 2014 Independent Review of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA). This will mean that:
- lawyers with practising certificates will not have to register with the OMARA once the reforms have been legislated. Each jurisdiction in Australia has a complaints and discipline framework which protects the consumers of migration law services. Information about the regulation of the legal profession is below
- the regulation of migration agents will be tightened, with allegations of serious misconduct adjudicated by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- OMARA will be absorbed into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection
- Continuing professional development (CPD) will be strengthened for both immigration lawyers and migration agents. OMARA will monitor the registration and eligibility of CPD providers.
- The Implementation of the review's recommendations will commence later in 2015 following further consultations with stakeholders.
For more information about the Review, including its terms of reference click here.
Continuing Professional Development
The Migration Law Committee is developing a program of CPD events to complement its annual Immigration Law Conference. Law Council Section members are the first to hear about these CPD events. Please join or renew your membership of the Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section so that you don't miss out.
Specialist accreditation for immigration lawyers
Accreditation as a specialist in immigration law is available in several jurisdictions.
For more information about:
- The Law Society of New South Wales’ Specialist Accreditation Scheme click here
- The Law Institute of Victoria’s Specialist Accreditation Scheme click here
- Queensland Law Society Specialist Accreditation Scheme click here
Legal profession - complaints and discipline
From 1 July 2015 the legal profession in New South Wales and Victoria will be regulated by the Legal Profession Uniform Law. The inter-jurisdictional Legal Services Council will oversee and promote a uniform approach to regulating the legal profession and the delivery of legal services across New South Wales and Victoria, together with a Commissioner for Uniform Legal Services Regulation. Day-to-day regulation will remain the responsibility of the existing New South Wales and Victorian regulatory bodies.
The Uniform Law Framework preserves the existing rights of legal practitioners from other States and Territories to practise in New South Wales and Victoria. The Law Council has produced this fact sheet for the information of practitioners from other States and Territories. The Uniform Law Rules can be found on the Legal Services Council website.
In states and territories other than New South Wales and Victoria from 1 July 2015 the regulation of the legal profession has the following objectives:
- to give every person the right to complain about the conduct of lawyers
- to ensure that information is readily available to lay persons about the means of redress that are available under the scheme
- 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
- to provide an opportunity for mediation of consumer disputes relating to legal services
- 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
- 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)
- to give complainants the right to seek an independent review of decisions of Councils to dismiss complaints or reprimand Australian legal practitioners.