Legal profession    

Reference received: 16 September 1976

Journal article: C Parker, "Justifying the New South Wales legal profession 1976 to 1997" (1997) 2 Newcastle Law Review 1

The reference was divided into the following topics:

General regulation and structure (including professional indemnity insurance)

Complaints, discipline and professional standards

Advertising and specialisation

Solicitors' trust accounts (including the solicitors' fidelity fund)

Solicitors' costs and conveyancing

General regulation and structure

Report 31: First Report on the Legal Profession: General Regulation and Structure [PDF, 743Kb], April 1982

An Outline of the Report was also published [PDF, 107Kb]

Tabled in parliament: 6 April 1982

Legislative action: Legal Profession ​Act 1987​​

Judicial citation: Wentworth v NSW Bar Association (1992) 176CLR 239 at 241; New South Wales Bar Association v Murphy (2002) 55 NSWLR 23 at para 6; Law Society of New South Wales v Moulton [1981] 2 NSWLR 736 at 757

Discussion Paper 1: The Legal Profession - General Regulation, April 1979

[An Outline of the Discussion Paper was also published]​

Discussion Paper 3: The Legal Profession: Professional Indemnity Insurance , December 1979

[An Outline of the Discussion Paper was also published]​

Background Paper 2: The Legal Profession: Professional Indemnity Insurance , January 1980

Discussion Paper 4: The Legal Profession - Structure of the Profession (Parts 1 and 2) , May 1981

[Outlines of both Parts of the Discussion Paper were also published]

Background Paper 4: The Legal Profession - Structure of the Profession , August 1981

Complaints, discipline and professional standards 

Report 32: Second Report on the Legal Profession: Complaints, Discipline and Professional Standards [PDF, 345Kb], April 1982

An Outline of the Report was also published [PDF, 65Kb]

Tabled in parliament: 6 April 1982

Legislative action: Legal Practitioners (Further Amendment) Act 1980Legal Profession Act 1987

Judicial citation: Sedgwick v Law Society of New South Wales (NSW CA, No 40111/92, 13 April 1993, unreported) per Kirby P at 11 and 15 New South Wales Bar Association v Murphy (2002) 55 NSWLR 23 at para 6​ 

Discussion Paper 2: The Legal Profession: Complaints, Discipline and Professional Standards, April 1979

[An Outline of the Discussion Paper was also published]

Background Paper 1: The Legal Profession: Complaints, Discipline and Professional Standards, May 1979​

Background Paper 3: The Legal Profession: Complaints, Discipline and Professional Standards, October 1980

Advertising and specialisation

Report 33: Third Report on the Legal Profession: Advertising and Specialisation [PDF, 451Kb], July 1982

An Outline of the Report was also published [PDF, 87Kb]

Tabled in parliament: 9 August 1982

Judicial citation: APLA Ltd v Legal Services Commissioner (N W (2005) 219 ALR 403 (HC) [315]

Legislative action: ​None recommended 

Discussion Paper 5: The Legal Profession: Advertising and Specialisation, October 1981

Solicitors Trust Accounts

Report 44: Fourth Report on the Legal Profession - Solicitors' Trust Accounts [PDF, 1Mb], December 1984

An Outline of the Report was also published [PDF, 84Kb]

Tabled in parliament: 19 May 1985

Legislative action: Legal Professi​on Act 1987​​​

Discussion Paper 6: The Legal Profession: Solicitors’ Trust Accounts and the Solicitors’ Fidelity Fund, October 1981

Judicial citation: Vassiliadis v Law Society of NSW (1997) 41 NSWLR 383 at 388 Re: Gianacas; ex Parte: The Official Receer (1983) 77 FLR 345;

Background Paper 5: The Legal Profession: Solicitors’ Trust Accounts and the Solicitors’ Fidelity Fund, December 1981

Solicitors' costs and conveyancing

​​Options Paper 1: Solicitors’ Costs and Conveyancing , January 1984

Terms of reference

To inquire into and review the law and practice relating to the legal profession and to consider whether any and, if so, what changes are desirable in

(a) the structure, organization and regulation of that profession;

(b) the functions, rights, privileges and obligations of all legal practitioners; and

(c) the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1 898, and the rules and regulations made thereunder and other relevant legislation and instruments;

with particular reference to but not confined to the following matters:

(d) the division of the legal profession into two branches;

(e) the rights of audience of legal practitioners;

(f) the existence or otherwise of monopolies or restrictive practices within the profession;

(g) the right of senior counsel to appear without junior counsel;

(h) the fixing and maintenance of ethical standards;

(i) the making, investigation and adjudication of complaints concerning the professional competence or conduct of legal practitioners and the effectiveness of the investigation and adjudication of such complaints by professional organizations;

(j) the making, investigation and adjudication of complaints concerning charges made for work done by legal practitioners;

(k) the fixing and recovery of charges for work done by legal practitioners, including the charging by junior counsel of two-thirds of his senior's fee and the fixing of barristers' fees in advance for work to be done;

(l) the liability of legal practitioners for professional negligence and compulsory insurance in respect thereof;

(m) partnerships and the incorporation of legal practices;

(n) advertising;

(o) confidentiality;

(p) the certification of legal practitioners as specialists in particular fields;

(q) performance of conveyancing and other legal work other than by legal practitioners;

(r) fidelity guarantees and rules relating to the administration of guarantee funds;

(s) the Statutory Interest Account;

(t) the supervision by independent third parties of trust accounts of legal practitioners;

(u) the necessity for participation by legal practitioners in courses of continuing legal education;

but not including an examination of the provisions of the Legal Assistance Act, 1943, the Public Defenders Act, 1969, the Legal Practitioners (Legal Aid) Act, 1970, the role of the Law Foundation; or legal education prior to admission.

​Note: See also Reference 2: Legal Practitioners ActReference 79: Scrutiny of the legal professionReference 84: Barristers' practising certificatesReference 102: Review of Part 10 of the Legal Profession Act 1987 (NSW)