Under the provisions of the Legal Profession Uniform Law, the Legal Services Council makes and amends Rules as required to refine and improve the operation of the Uniform Law. Recent changes to the Uniform Law are listed below.
Date issued: 24 April 2017
Rule 5(1) of the Admission Rules specifies the academic qualifications prerequisite for people seeking admission to the legal profession in NSW and Victoria. This includes acquiring and demonstrating competence in the academic areas of knowledge set out in Schedule 1 or "otherwise determined by the Admissions Committee after consulting with each of the Boards".
During 2016, following extensive consultations, the Law Admissions Consultative Committee and every Australian Admitting Authority (including the Admission Boards in NSW and Victoria) resolved to alter the previous descriptions of Civil Procedure and Evidence that applied in all jurisdictions. The Legal Services Council Admissions Committee similarly determined to make the same alterations pursuant to rule 5(1)(c), in December 2016.
As the changes have now been made in all Australian jurisdictions, the Legal Services Council determined that Schedule 1 should be amended to reflect the changes that have already come into effect. Accordingly, the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Amendment (Academic Areas of Knowledge) Rule 2017 was made on 20 April 2017 and published on the NSW Legislation website on 24 April 2017.
The particular changes are:
Date issued: 17 February 2017
An amendment has been made to Rule 18 of the Uniform Admission Rules 2015. This has particular effect for applicants who may have to provide police reports from countries or jurisdictions other than Australia. Following Standing Committee approval, the LSC resolved to make the amendment at its meeting on 14 February and the amendment was notified on the NSW Legislation website on 17 February 2017.
The amended Rule 18 now states that:
The previous rule required applicants with an overseas qualification to obtain a police report from every country or jurisdiction in which they had previously lived, prepared within 6 months before the application for a compliance certificate was made. The Admissions Committee of the Legal Services Council considered that an amendment to Rule 18 was necessary as it had proved to be both difficult to comply with and unduly expensive for some applicants.
The amendment relieves applicants of this burden, by allowing the Board to request a police report after the application has been made, rather than requiring it to be provided in all cases. The Admissions Boards have found that a certificate of good standing from the relevant professional body in the overseas country where an applicant has previously been admitted also appears to be a reliable indicator of an applicant's status.