Professional Standards Scheme

2015/16 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Limitation of Liability 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 Council regarding the administration of the Scheme; and
• review the Scheme from time to time.

Prior to the beginning of the 2015/16 year, the Committee had developed new member agreements for ordinary, associate and incorporate legal practice members setting out the obligations of Law Society members. During the year under review, the Committee considered a number of applications for higher discretionary caps and made recommendations to Council. Five applications for discretionary caps were approved by Council during the course of the year. In February 2016, Law Society staff involved in the administration of the Scheme also attended a workshop with representatives from the PSCs. In March 2016, Law Society representatives attended a daylong meeting at the Law Society of New South Wales with representatives of the Law Societies of New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland, and the Law Institute of Victoria. As had been the case with a similar meeting held in Perth the previous year, this meeting too afforded a valuable opportunity to the Law Society to explore a range of practical, operational and compliance issues relating to the administration of a professional standards scheme with its interstate counterparts.

The Committee also oversaw the development and adoption of a new Professional Standards Scheme Five Year Risk Management Plan, Integrated Risk and Compliance Framework and Risk and Compliance Policy. These were approved by Council in April 2016 along with the Law Society’s second annual compliance report to the PSCs.

The Committee is pleased to report that as at 30 June 2016 the Scheme had 1,112 participating members; nearly 300 more than the number of participating members a year earlier.

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