The Model Legal Profession Bill
Status of implementation
The Model Laws project was largely undertaken under the auspices and in conjunction with the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) culminating in the public release of the second edition Legal Profession Model Bill late in 2006. Between 2004 and 2008 the States and territories (apart from South Australia) enacted a Legal Profession Act based on the template of the model legislation.
South Australia remains the last jurisdiction yet to enact its Legal Profession Act. Early in 2009, the Bill lapsed in the Legislative Council (second house) due to a prorogation. No compromise was achieved in a deadlock over a dispute about the compensation that should be paid to the clients of a former law firm, who claim funds were fraudulently taken from the firm's trust account. While it is hoped the stalled Legal Profession legislation will be reintroduced, as at time of writing no timetable for its re-presentation had yet been announced.
In March 2009 most of the substantive provisions of the Legal Profession Act 2008 (WA), Legal Profession Regulations 2009 (WA) and Legal Profession Rules 2009 (WA) commenced. Certain provisions, for instance those relating to trust accounts and continuing professional development, are expected to progressively come into operation.