Law Council of Australia

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Law Council of Australia located in Canberra

The Law Council of Australia is an association of law societies and bar associations from the states and territories of Australia, and the peak body representing the legal profession in Australia. The Council was formed in 1933 to unite the various state legal associations, in order to represent the profession at a national level and at an international level. The Council is particularly vocal on subjects involving federal law, that is, laws made or considered by the Parliament of Australia. As of 2007, the Council represents over 56,000 lawyers across Australia.[1]

The Council consists of representatives from its sixteen constituent bodies, and an executive body elected by the council. The current President is Stuart Clark AM and President-elect is Fiona McLeod SC. Former Presidents include two former Chief Justices of Australia, Sir John Latham and Sir Garfield Barwick, and former High Court Justice Douglas Menzies.[2] A former Attorney-General of Australia, Michael Lavarch, is also a former Secretary-General of the Council. The Council also forms committees on various subjects, such as Indigenous legal issues, national criminal law, and alternative dispute resolution.

The Council currently has five sections.[3] The sections each have various committees with specific areas of interest, for example the Business Law section has a 'Financial Services Committee'.[4] The broad sections of the Council are:

  1. Business Law;[5]
  2. Family Law;[6]
  3. Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution;[7]
  4. International Law;[8] and
  5. Legal Practice.[9]

A former deputy chair of the Victoria for the Financial Services Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the Council, and Financial Services Ombudsman, Dr. Justijana Tonti-Filippini, was embroiled in a scandal involving file notes presented to the Supreme Court of Victoria.[10][11][12][13] The Law Council of Australia has not given any media statement regarding nor has it commented on the issues.

In 1986, the Council established a separate Family Law Section, for practitioners specialising in Australian family law. It represents about 2,000 lawyers across Australia.[14] The Council administers a number of awards, including the John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship, awarded to Indigenous Australians studying law in Australian universities. The award is named for John Koowarta, the plaintiff in the famous Koowarta v Bjelke-Petersen case. The Council sponsors the Human Rights Law Award, awarded by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Recent winners include barrister Julian Burnside.

The Council often comments on the legal policy of the Government of Australia, and on proposed legislation in the Parliament of Australia. It also often gives testimony to parliamentary inquiries. Recent stances adopted by the Council include strong criticism of the Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005,[15][16] and a criticism of profiteering in the insurance industry and weaknesses in personal injury legislation.[17][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Submission of the Law Council of Australia". Australian Government Attorney-General's Department. Archived from the original on 21 July 2005. Retrieved 19 January 2006. 
  2. ^ "Law Council Past Presidents". Law Council of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2006. 
  3. ^ Roger. "Home". www.lawcouncil.asn.au. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  4. ^ Roger. "Financial Services Committee". www1.lawcouncil.asn.au. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  5. ^ Roger. "About the BLS". www1.lawcouncil.asn.au. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  6. ^ Roger. "FLS Home". www1.lawcouncil.asn.au. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  7. ^ Roger. "About the Section". www1.lawcouncil.asn.au. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  8. ^ Roger. "ILS". www1.lawcouncil.asn.au. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  9. ^ Roger. "About the section". www1.lawcouncil.asn.au. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  10. ^ "Calls for Financial Ombudsman Service to be disbanded over credibility issues". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  11. ^ "The questions the Financial Ombudsman needs to answer". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  12. ^ "Financial Ombudsman Service under fire as politicians demand change". 2016-03-17. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  13. ^ Media, WorkDay. "Australian Banking and Finance News from Banking Day". www.bankingday.com. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  14. ^ "About the Family Law Section". Family Law Section. Archived from the original on 17 December 2005. Retrieved 19 January 2006. 
  15. ^ "Legal Profession Opposes Anti-Terror Bill". Law Council of Australia. Archived from the original on August 26, 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2006. 
  16. ^ "Law Council Vows to Monitor Use of Counter-Terror Laws". Law Council of Australia. Archived from the original on August 26, 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2006. 
  17. ^ "LCA Report Reveals Insurer Profits Have Hit a 10-Year High – So Where are the Benefits?". Law Council of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2006. 
  18. ^ "Record Insurance Industry Profits At The Expense Of Injured Australians". Law Council of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2006. 

External links[edit]