The Legal Services Council (LSC) has made the Legal Profession Uniform General Amendment (External Examiners) Rule 2018 to provide regulators with power to revoke the status of external examiners (EEs) as designated persons under the Uniform Law on the basis of incompetence or unsuitability. The LSC has completed two rounds of consultation from January to March 2018, in accordance with s 425 and the Standing Committee has approved the rule. The rule takes effect from 3 September 2018.
Under Part 4.2 of the Uniform Law and the Uniform General Rules, EEs (usually accountants and auditors) are appointed to inspect and report on the trust records of law practices every year. The new rule 65A of the Uniform General Rules empowers the designated local regulatory authorities to disqualify certain persons on reasonable grounds. The rule also ensures that procedural fairness applies to persons who are subject to proposed disqualification. The new rule seeks to advance the objective of ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place to uphold the integrity of legal services.
As an additional measure, the LSC has issued a Direction to the designated local regulatory authorities in NSW and Victoria to maintain Public Registers of eligible EEs. The LSC website will publish the links to the NSW and Victorian Public Registers so that law practices, consumers of legal services, legal and financial regulatory authorities in Uniform Law and in non-Uniform Law jurisdictions and the general public may be informed of persons who are eligible to be EEs under the Uniform Law.