Ethics

2018/19 Annual Report

The year saw a change in the Committee’s Convenor with the retirement of Julian Sher and the appointment of Fiona Stanton. The Committee acknowledges the enormous contribution of Mr Sher to the work of the Society in respect professional ethics and thanks him for his decade of service as the Convenor of the Ethics Committee.

The Committee has continued consideration of matters relevant to the the pending Legal Profession Uniform Law. This included consideration of inconsistencies between the Legal Profession
Rules 2009 (WA) and the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules. The Committee has given particular attention to rules proscribing contact with an opposing represented party and rules relating to the payment and receipt of referral fees. The Committee liaises with a member of the Society’s Executive who represents the Society on the Legal Profession Uniform Law Working Group.

The Committee has continued to be ably represented on the Law Council’s Professional Ethics Committee by its member Ashley Macknay.

The Committee has undertaken a review of the Society’s Ethical Practice Guidelines with a view to proposing amendments in order to ensure that the Guidelines continue to reflect ethical issues in contemporary legal practice. New Unbundling Guidelines have also been published by the Law Society.

The Committee considered proposed guidelines in relation to the practice of ‘claims harvesting’ – a practice of identifying prospective clients who have suffered injuries and referring them, for a fee, to lawyers. Members of the Committee participated in a working group in conjunction with members of the Personal Injuries Committee to finalise a proposed guideline in relation to claims
harvesting and to respond to an enquiry from the Department of Justice in relation to this practice.

The Committee continues to consider matters raised by the Productivity Commission.

The Committee has recently welcomed as new members two very experienced practitioners in Mr Paul Donovan and Mr Mark Pendlebury.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au