Law Reform and Advocacy

Policy and Advocacy

Policy and Advocacy

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The Law Society advocates on a variety of issues that affect the profession through submissions, advisory initiatives and campaigns.

Law Society Policy Papers

The Law Society has prepared briefing papers for the policy position of a number of issues concerning the legal profession.

Sentencing policies

Closing the gap policies

Legal profession policies

State Government and Opposition respond to the Law Society’s Policy Positions

In December 2016 the Law Society  wrote to both the Hon Michael Mischin MLC, Attorney General of Western Australia, and Mr Mark McGowan MLC, Leader of the Opposition asking them to respond to the Law Society’s policy positions on a range of legal issues affecting community members and the legal profession in Western Australia.

A summary of the briefing papers and responses from the Liberal Government and Labor Opposition was published in the Brief March 2017 issue.

Read their letters in their entirety

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap

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The Closing the Gap strategy is a long term, Coalition of Australian Governments framework that builds on the foundation of respect and unity provided by the 2008 National Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. In 2008, the Coalition agreed to six ambitious targets to address the disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, child mortality, education and employment. Justice targets are yet to be formally included.

In February 2016 the Law Society resolved to commence a strategic campaign known as ‘Closing the Gap’ with an emphasis on the spiralling rates of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia. Currently the Law Society’s campaign is being advanced by the work of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, the Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Group and the Law Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.

Closing the gap policies

Reconciliation Action Plan

The Law Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan sets out a strategy to achieve a profession where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students, graduates and practitioners feel valued and respected. The Law Society promotes a community in which members understand and show respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through building relationships and laying the foundation for increased opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

View the Report on Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan Actions

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

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The Australian legal profession is committed to promoting diversity, equality, respect and inclusion consistent with the principles of justice, integrity, equity and the pursuit of excellence upon which the profession is founded.

We recognise that diversity benefits the legal profession and the community as a whole.

Accordingly, the Australian legal profession and its members:

  • treat all people with respect and dignity regardless of sex, sexuality, disability, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or other arbitrary feature
  • create and foster equality through a supportive and understanding environment for all individuals to realise their maximum potential regardless of difference
  • promote and support a strong and fair legal profession comprising, accommodating, encouraging and respecting a diverse range of individuals and views

Policy Position

Law Council Diversity and Equality Charter
Legal Assistance Funding Legal Profession Uniform Law Committees

Committees

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More than 40 active committees have been established by volunteer members of the Law Society, covering a range of substantive law and other areas of interest. Many of the Law Society’s committees are policy committees that deal with references for comment from outside organisations and initiate comment on various legal and practice issues as and when they arise.

Committee membership is an exclusive benefit for Law Society members. Joining a committee is a great way to give back to the profession, influence the agenda and develop networks in different sectors of the profession.  Committee members are expected to abide by the committee standing orders and code of conduct.

To join a committee please complete a Committee Expression of Interest form and email to advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au.

Submissions

Submissions

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The Law Society regularly provides submissions to government and other agencies for the purpose of legislative and policy change.

2016 submissions

Title of submission Submission to
Australian Consumer Law Review – Interim Report (December 2016) Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand
Australian Consumer Law Review – Response to Issues Paper (May 2016) Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand
Harmonisation of Conduct Rule 3s – Comparison between Legal Profession Conduct Rules 2010 (WA) and Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2016 (April 2016) Letter to the Legal Practice Board WA cc to State Attorney General WA Bar Association (State)
Expunging of Criminal Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences (April 2016) Submission to the Attorney General (State)
 Legal Costs Committee Review: Legal Profession (Family Court of Western Australia) Determination 2014; Legal Profession (State Administrative Tribunal) Determination 2014; Legal Profession (Official Prosecutions) (Accused’s Costs) Determination 2014 (April 2016) Submission to the Legal Costs Committee (State)
WA Project 106 Provisional Damages and Damages for Gratuitous Services (March 2016) Law Reform Commission of Western Australia

2015 submissions

Title of submission Submission to
Review of 0 36B – Subpoenas, Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 (January 2015) Supreme Court of Western Australia (State)
Landgate Strata Titles Reform – Combined Discussion Paper (February 2015) Landgate Strata Titles Act Reform Paper (State)
Mandatory Sentencing – Criminal Law Amendment (Home Burglary and Other Offences) Bill 2014 (February 2015) Attorney General (State)
Inquiry into Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panels) Regulations 2011 (February 2015) Legislative Council Standing Committee on Uniform Legislation and Statutes Review (State)
Draft Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2014 (February 2015) Minister for Planning (State)
United Nations Universal Periodic Review Shadow Report of Australia’s Human Rights Obligations: Indigenous Specific Responses (February 2015) Law Council of Australia (Federal)
Legal Costs Committee Review – Legal Practitioners (Solicitors Costs) Determination 2013 and Legal Practitioners (Solicitors Non-contentious Probate Costs) Determination 2013 (February 2015)  Legal Costs Committee (State)
Senate Economics Legislation Committee Inquiry into Australian Securities and Investment Commission Amendment (Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee Abolition) Bill 2014 (February 2015) Senate Economics Legislation Committee (Federal)
Bundles of Trial Materials (March 2015) District Court of Western Australia (State)
Landgate Consultation Paper – Sale of Land Act: Proposals for Changes to Section 13 (April 2015) Landgate (State)
Bell Group of Companies (Finalisation of Matters and Distribution Proceeds) Bill 2015 (May 2015) Treasurer (State)

2014 Submission

Title of submission Submission to
Productivity Commission – Request for information (January 2014) Law Council of Australia (Federal)
Review of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (January 2014) WorkCover WA (State)
Review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA) (February 2014) Department of Environment Regulation (State)
Report of the Family Court Delay Working Group (February 2014) Hon Chief Judge of the Family Court and State and Federal Attorney General (State)
Law Reform Commission of Western Australia – Discussion Paper – Enhancing Laws Concerning Family and Domestic Violence (February 2014) Law Reform Commission of Western Australia (State)
Proposed Amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (May 2014) Law Council of Australia (Federal)
Review of the Native Title Act 1993 (May 2014) Australian Law Reform Commission (Federal)
Productivity Commission Interim Report on Access to Justice April 2014 (May 2014) Law Council of Australia (Federal)
Legal Costs Committee Review – Legal Practitioners (State Administrative Tribunal) Determination 2012Legal Practitioners (Family Court of Western Australia) Determination 2012Legal Practitioners (Official Prosecutions) (Accused’s Costs) Determination 2012 (August 2014) Legal Costs Committee (State)
Proposed Practice Management Regulations (August 2014) Legal Practice Board of Western Australia (State)
Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Bill 2013 (August 2014) Attorney General (State)
Review of Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 – Final Report July 2014 (August 2014) WorkCover WA (State)
Commonwealth Government’s Decision to Abolish Corporations and Markets Advisory Advisory Committee (October 2014) Treasury (Federal)
Statutory Review of the Construction Contracts Act 2004 (WA) (November 2014) Department of Commerce (State)
Review of the Native Title Act 1993 (December 2014) Australian Law Reform Commission (Federal)
Compulsory Third Party Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Insurance Scheme (December 2014) Insurance Commission of Western Australia (State)
Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996 (December 2014) Department of the Attorney General (State)

2013 submissions

Title of submission Submission to
Key Criminal Justice Issues (January 2013) Attorney General.  Copies to the Premier, Shadow Attorney General, Leader of the Opposition and the Greens (State)
Review of Liquor Control Act 1988 (February 2013) Liquor Act Review Committee (State)
Representative Proceedings – Law Reform Commission of Western Australia Project 103 Discussion Paper February 2013 (May 2013) Law Reform Commission of Western Australia (State)
Statutory Review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (August 2013) Policy and Aboriginal Services Directorate, Department of the Attorney General (State)
Review of Legal Costs Committee Court Scales 2012 (December 2013) Legal Costs Committee (State)

2012 submissions

Title of submission Submission to
Proposed Repeal Section 27A Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943 and Section 87 Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (January 2012) Minister for Commerce (State)
IP Australia – Innovation Patents – Raising the Step Consultation Paper (October 2012) IP Australia (Federal)
Law Reform Commission of Western Australia – Discussion Paper – Complaints Against Judiciary (November 2012) Law Reform Commission of Western Australia (State)

2011 submissions

Title of submission Submission to
Inquiry into Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts (January 2011) Australian Law Reform Commission (Federal)
Legal Practitioners (Solicitors Costs) Determination 2009 and Legal Practitioners (Solicitors Non-Contentious Probate Costs) Determination 2010 (March 2011) Legal Costs Committee (State)
Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 Discussion Paper – Project 101 – February 2011 (June 2011) Law Reform Commission of Western Australia (State)
Submission to Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Immigration Detention Network (July 2011) Law Council of Australia (Federal)
Section 136(1) of the Planning and Development Act 2005 (July 2011) Minister for Planning (State)
Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Amendment Bill 2011 – Legislative Council Amendments (July 2011) Department of Commerce (State)
Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement – Options for Improving Access to Lease Information in the Retail Tenancy Market in Western Australia (August 2011) Department of Commerce (State)
Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (August 2011) Law Council of Australia (Federal)
Section 68 of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (September 2011) Minister for the Environment (State)
Draft Revised Workers’ Compensation (Legal Practitioners and Registered Agents) Costs Determination 2011 (September 2011) WorkCover WA Costs Committee (State)
Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) Consultation Draft Proportionate Liability Model Provisions (October 2011) SCAG (Federal)

2010 submissions

Title of submission Submission to
Children’s Court Rules 2009 (February 2010) President of the Children’s Court (WA)
District Court Draft Practice Direction – Video and Audio Links (February 2010) Chief Judge of the District Court (WA)
Suppression and Non-Publication Orders (March 2010) Department of the Attorney General (State)
Freedom of Information Review (May 2010) Information Commissioner (State)
National Electronic conveyancing – Non-Regulated Subscribers (June 2010) National Electronic Conveyancing Office (Federal)
Closure of State Sub Offices of IP Australia (September 2010) Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Federal) Minister for Commerce (State)
Children’s Court Direction on Saturday Sittings in Perth (September 2010) Attorney General (State)