Legal profession    

Reference received: 16 September 1976


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

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​ 

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) at para 315; Vassiliadis v Law Society of NSW (1997) 41 NSWLR 383 at 388 Re: Gianacas; ex Parte:The Official Receiver (1983) 77 FLR345

Legislative action: ​None recommended 

Report 44: Fourth Report on the Legal Profession - SolicitorsTrust 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​​​

​Background papers

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

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

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

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

Background Paper 5: Vassiliadis v Law Society of NSW (1997) 41 NSWLR 383 at 388 Re: Gianacas; exParte: The Official Receer(1983) 77 FLR 345

Discussion papers

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

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

Discussion Paper 2: The Legal Profession: Complaints, Discipline and Professional Standards , 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]​

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]

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

Discussion Paper 6: APLA Ltd v Legal Services Commissioner (NSW) (2005) 219 ALR 403 (HC) at para 315

Options paper

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

Journal article

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

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)