Topic: An independent legal profession and the national regulatory reforms

Presenter: Dr Linda Haller - University of Melbourne

This paper will explore notions of lawyer independence in the context of recent challenges by members of the Australian judiciary and legal profession to aspects of the proposed national legal profession reforms. Some judges have said these reforms would constitute such a dramatic change to the ethical paradigm in which Australian lawyers practise that professional status and the public's confidence in the independent administration of justice would be compromised. But is that necessarily the case? What do we mean when we speak of lawyer independence? Why do we value it, what purposes does it seek to serve, from what forces do we seek independence, and what are the best ways to foster and entrench independence? And importantly for the current debate, does it matter if an independent profession has not protected consumers well in the past or exercised independence for the public good? These are questions re-ignited by the current debate and that the paper explores.

All welcome, no RSVP required.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: 334 69350, email:

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