Proposals and submissions made by LACC
Accreditation Standards for Australian Law Courses
Following consultations with the Council of Chief Justices, each Admitting Authority, the Admissions Committee of the Legal Services Council and the Council of Australian Law Deans, LACC has adopted the following Standards for the purpose of conducting trial re-accreditation reviews of three law courses during 2017.
- Accreditation Standards for Australian Law Courses - February 2017
Standards for PLT courses and providers
Some years ago, the Victorian Council of Legal Education, with the help of a consultant, developed and, after wide consultation, adopted standards for PLT courses and providers as relevant benchmarks against which those providing, or seeking to provide, PLT courses can be accredited, reviewed and monitored. The Standards have been subsequently revised in light of experience gained from their successful use.
They have been approved by the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council (APLEC), which has requested that they be used in every Australian jurisdiction. LACC has also considered successive versions of the document and has commended it to all Australian Admitting Authorities for use when reviewing, accrediting or monitoring PLT providers and courses.
- Uniform Standards for PLT Courses and Providers - July 2015
Standards for PLT workplace experience
Concern about the effectiveness of, and variation in the prevailing practise of PLT providers relating to, workplace experience undertaken as part of a PLT course led LACC to develop the following Standards. The Standards were adopted by all Admitting Authorities during 2016.
- Standards for PLT Workplace Experience - March 2017
Submission to Productivity Commission on its draft report on Access to Justice Arrangements
In April 2014, the Productivity Commission released a draft report on Access to Justice Arrangements. Chapter seven made certain observations about the education and training of lawyers, leading to draft recommentation 7.1 on pages 231-232 of the draft.
LACC's submission identifies a number of incorrect assertions and false assumptions made in the Chapter and suggests several matters which it would be prudent to reconsider.
- Submission to Productivity Commission on its draft report on Access to Justice Arrangements - April 2014
Further submission to Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) on National Legal Profession Reform
In December 2010, revised drafts of a proposed National Law and National Rules were released by the COAG Taskforce on National Legal Profession Reform. The task of reaching agreement on their content was handed to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General.
As the revised drafts failed to take account of the numerous difficulties of principle and practice identified in the LACC's earlier submission to the COAG Taskforce of July 2010, the Chief Justices of many States and Territories drew that continuing failure to take account of vital matters to the attention of their respective Attorneys-General.
To support the initiative of these Chief Justices, LACC produced a further submission to SCAG setting out additional difficulties arising from the revised draft legislation, summarising key elements of its previous submission to the COAG Taskforce, and summarising additional areas of agreement reached by Admitting Authorities on a number of procedural matters relating to the suitability of applicants for admission.
- Submission to Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) on National Legal Profession Reform - May 2011
Statement on statutory interpretation
Following comments responding to the discussion paper Approaches to Interpretation (see below) LACC prepared this statement of the knowledge and skills about Statutory Interpretation which are appropriate for a graduate seeking admission to the legal profession.
The Council of Australian Law Deans has been asked for its advice on whether the knowledge and skills can be imparted by using the pedagogical techniques favoured by most law schools and how it might be possible to ensure that each law school arranges for its graduates to attain the relevant knowledge and skills, without making Statutory Interpretation a further Academic Requirement for admission.
LACC Statement on Statutory Interpretation - February 2010
Statement on uniform admission arrangements
This document was prepared as an initial briefing paper for the COAG Taskforce on National Legal Profession reform. It sets out the various initiatives take by LACC in recent years to ensure that policies and procedures relating to admission are consistent, uniform and transparent throughout Australia; consistent with the development of a national profession; and consistent with Australia's participation in the international demand for professional legal services.
- Uniform Admission Arrangements - July 2009
Practising in special circumstances
Some years ago, it became apparent that there might be a need for all jurisdictions to be able to authorise an overseas practitioner to appear in a particular matter or to undertake legal work for a limited period in Australia, without also having to undertake the academic and PLT requirements usually imposed on overseas applicants for admission. As such people would be practising Australian law, they would not be eligible to be registered as foreign lawyers, practising foreign law.
In the light of responses to a discussion paper principles for the exercise of discretionary powers to admit a person to the Australian legal profession in special circumstances (see below) LACC prepared draft provisions to enable this to occur. These were revised and ultimately adopted by all Admitting Authorities. The following document embodying those provisions formed a further submission to the COAG Taskforce on National Legal Profession Reform.
- Practising in special circumstances - October 2009
Submission to COAG Taskforce on National Legal Profession Reform
In May 2010, the Taskforce released Consultation Drafts of a proposed Legal Profession National Law and Legal Profession National Rules. LACC supports a number of the significant initiatives proposed. It has serious reservations about two issues of fundamental principle relating to the proposal to centralise admissions and the conditional admission of foreign lawyers. It also has several suggestions about matters of detail set out in, or omitted from, the Consultation Drafts.
The submission was supported by all Admitting Authorities and was also subsequently endorsed by the Chief Justices of each State and Territory.
Submission on suitability matters to SCAG Working Group on National Legal Profession Reforms
For several years, the Administrators of the various Admitting Authorities sought to reach agreement between jurisdictions about procedures to be followed when determining the suitability of applicants for admission to the legal profession. A meeting between the Administrators and representatives of the Admitting Authorities agreed on a number of recommendations about how these matters should be dealt with in any National Rules which might be introduced as part of National Legal Profession reforms. Their recommendations were subsequently endorsed by LACC and the various Admitting Authorities.
The following submission was accordingly made by LACC to the SCAG Working Group on National Legal Profession Reforms, which succeeded the COAG Taskforce dealing with these matters.
Proposal for admitting experienced practitioners from common law countries
A rigorous application of the principle that an overseas applicant for admission should have "substantially equivalent" qualifications to those required of a local applicant trained in Australia, meant that very experienced overseas practitioners, particularly from the United Kingdom, were often required to undertake further academic study in numerous subjects, before becoming eligible for admission in Australia.
Following consultations with the Chairman of the International Legal Services Advisory Council, LACC developed this Proposal, which was subsequently adopted by all Admitting Authorities. This, in turn, led to the addition of item 5 and Schedule 5 to the Uniform Principles for Assessing Overseas Qualifications (see above).
Uniform English Language Testing Policy
Admitting Authorities have long had power to satisfy themselves about an applicant's proficiency in english when deciding when an applicant should be admitted. The absence of an appropriate and reliable test for determining an applicant's proficiency meant that this power was rarely invoked.
In 2006, LACC examined the available tests and proposed a Uniform English Language Testing Policy, which was adopted by all Admitting Authorities. The present policy appears as item 6 of the Uniform Principles for Assessing Overseas Qualifications, set out above.