Amendment of the Uniform General Rules supporting Chapter 4 of the Uniform Law


Date issued: 13 December 2019


On 6 December 2019, after consulting widely with stakeholders and the public, the Legal Services Council (LSC) made the Legal Profession Uniform General Amendment (Miscellaneous) Rule 2019 (Rule) under s 419 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014 (Uniform Law). As well as clarifying the usual duration of a practising certificate, the Rule amends the Uniform General Rules (UGRs) that support various provisions in Chapter 4 of the Uniform Law, specifically UGRs 17, 38, 54, 63, 64 and 93; and creates new UGRs 91E and 95A.  It commenced on 13 December 2019.

The effect of the amendments is to:

  • Clarify the duration of a practising certificate that is not suspended, cancelled or surrendered - to expressly include 30 June as its last day.
  • Assist solicitors of law practices holding money received in certain circumstances for investment purposes and/or money received pursuant to a written direction, to comply with their obligations regarding these types of trust money - by creating new categories to account for them. 
  • Promote efficiency, certainty and safety in complying with a client's directions to withdraw controlled moneys - by creating a hierarchy of authorised people who may withdraw money from the relevant controlled money account if the principal of the law practice is unavailable.

  • Promote clarity and accountability - by specifying the details a law practice must record when payments are made from a controlled money account.

  • Enhance order and transparency - by mandating that a solicitor's law practice opens and maintains a file for each matter.

  • Save solicitors' time and increase the efficiency of routine auditing - by mandating that a law practice record the location of any regulated property related to a matter in the register of files opened.

  • Allow efficient auditing and file transfer by setting a standard as to how registers of files opened, registers of safe custody documents and registers of financial interests are to be maintained -  including legibly, in English and accessible at all times to an external intervenor, an investigator and a person conducting a compliance audit.

The Standing Committee, comprising the Attorneys General of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, accepted the LSC's recommendation and agreed to the proposed amendment of the UGRs, noting the consultation that had taken place.