Accreditation

2017/18 Annual Report

The Accreditation Committee advises the Law Society’s Council on the rules and regulations that govern the granting of accreditation by the Law Society. In a secondary capacity the Committee acts as the advisory board for family law accreditation.

Accredited family law specialists practising in Western Australia must be members of the Law Society, and there are currently 47 accredited family law specialists accredited in Western Australia.

The Committee’s achievements in 2017-2018 include:

  • assessment of professional development activities submitted by accredited specialists, for which accreditation professional development points may be allocated;
  • finalisation of the biennial specialist accreditation assessment programme, with six newly accredited family law specialists attaining their accreditation this year;
  • re-accreditation and auditing of accredited specialists; and
  • the mutual recognition of interstate accredited specialists, in accordance with the national accreditation scheme.

The current accreditation assessment programme concluded in November 2017 and of the 12 candidates initially enrolled in the assessment programme, six passed the accredited specialisation assessment. For the first time in Western Australia, new specialists were acknowledged and presented with their Certificates of Accreditation by the President of the Law Society at the Law Week Awards Night and cocktail evening on 18 May 2018.

The high degree of difficulty of the accredited specialisation programme is reflected in the modest completion rate. This year’s completion rate is consistent with that across other States and Territories this year. Specialist accreditation provides formal recognition of a legal practitioner’s high degree of technical competency in the area of family law. The privilege of formally applying the accredited family law specialist designation, and distinctive logo, is reserved exclusively for accredited specialists. Appointment as a specialist is a significant milestone in the career of a family law practitioner, and the Committee congratulates those admitted as candidates and wishes them well for the assessment tasks ahead.

The Law Society also actively participates in the Family Law Specialist Accreditation National Steering Committee. This ensures that all States and Territories share information to facilitate a consistent approach to assessment and credentialing. In an assessment year, the National Steering Committee works to promote consistency and uniformity of approach. That has included the Committee working with representatives of the other law societies and institutes to review and settle the assessment tasks and marking guides for assessment. Western Australia is the only State in which accredited practitioners are required to submit requests to the Committee for the approval and allocation of professional development points. This task represents a significant commitment of time for the Committee and this year the Committee has discussed the potential to reduce the number of meetings required and to approve more of the requests for points via circular resolution.

For more information about this committee please email accreditation@lawsocietywa.asn.au.