Professional Standards Scheme

2018/19 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Professional Standards Scheme commenced on 1 July 2014. The Scheme caps occupational liability of participating members at $1.5 million, $5 million or $10 million depending on the insurance policies and total annual fee income of the law practice.

The Professional Standards Scheme Committee was established to:

  • consider issues relating to the Scheme, the Professional Standards Councils (PSCs) and the Professional Standards Act 1997 (WA);
  • act under specific delegation of the Law Society’s Council, where granted, to make decisions in accordance with the Scheme and the Professional Standards Act 1997 (WA);
  • develop policy to assist in administering the Scheme;
  • make recommendations from time to time to Law Society’s Council regarding the administration of the Scheme; and
  • review the Scheme from time to time.

The Committee is pleased to report that as at 30 June 2019, the Scheme had 1,609 participating members. During the 2018/19 year, the Committee considered a number of applications for higher discretionary caps.

Six applications for discretionary caps were approved by Council during the course of the year. The Committee also oversaw the preparation and submission of the Law Society’s fifth annual compliance report to the PSCs and the third year of implementation of the Scheme’s risk management and compliance framework. A significant amount of work was also devoted to the preparation and finalisation of an application to renew the Scheme, which expired at the end of this reporting period. Happily, that application was successful, and the new Scheme commenced on 1 July 2019.

Key features of the new Scheme include an insurance standard developed in the interests of members and consumers of legal services to ensure the quality, consistency and level of insurance of participants in the Scheme; the incorporation of Tasmania through mutual recognition provisions; and the inclusion of a provision addressing the capping of liability those who are subject both to the Scheme and to another scheme under professional standards legislation.

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