“A disciplined lawyer is much better than a learned lawyer and the uncertainty in law depicts the power of lawyer”.
Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 (ASCR) is the guide for the Australian Legal Practitioner in order to provide them additional information for application of ASCR. The Legal Profession (Solicitors) Rule 2007 was replaced with the enforcement of ASCR on June 1, 2012. The state and territory law societies with other professional bodies of Law council were developed in a collaborative manner in accordance to the agreed set of professional conduct rules for all solicitors residing in Australia. The standards of professionalism for solicitors are described in the code of conduct in order to provide authorised legal services. The Code are more professionally made as a self-regulatory tool for the conduct and activity of business rather than just being a legal instrument. The parties are not always legally bound to follow the terms and conditions that are made by the company unless it is specifically refereed as code in a legal instrument.
The ASCR represents the statement of professional and ethical obligations of the solicitors which is derived through equity, common law and legislation. The professional view is collectively described in order to maintain the standard and conduct of the professional members. The solicitors in Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory have adopted the professional conduct rules.
The Australian Solicitor Conduct Rules were currently updated in March and April 2015. Section 427 (2) of the Uniform Law proposed the Uniform Rules for Legal practice, conduct of legal profession and to continue the professional development in accordance of the standards set for solicitors.
The Law Council of Australia regulates all the Australian lawyers to work according to the set laws and policies that are regulated for a legal profession. This has further directed the Law Council to develop the Australian Solicitors Rules, which are mainly enforced for the professional conduct of Australian solicitors.
Students will able to acknowledge the set rules with amendments of the professional conduct of solicitors.
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Reviews of the ASCR
The ASCR was reviewed by the Law Council in consideration of the regulators, constituent bodies and other relevant stakeholders. Since the declaration of ASCR in June 2011, ASCR was firstly reviewed in 2018. The recommendations of the professional ethics committee were made in that review which was endorsed by the Law Council Directors in March 2020. This revised ASCR with being implemented with the cooperative working of the Law Council with the Uniform Law, on the state and territory jurisdictions. The existing ethical principles need to be cleared in order to prevent the conflicting of interests among current and former clients. The professional practice of law will be applied by the solicitors in order to provide the legal services for short term.
Further Review of Rule 42
Many amendments were made out in Rule 42 in accordance of the review of ASCR. The National Round table had considered the issue of Sexual harassment with specific recommendations in order to address the Law Council's National Action Plan. This plan laid its focus on decreasing the act of sexual harassment in Australian legal profession (NAP).
The main objective of this amendment is to:
- simplify that the application of Rule 42 is laid on connecting the practice of law.
- Guarantee that matters of sexual harassment can be implemented by the professional disciplinary bodies with nonprofessional misconduct or satisfactory professional conduct.
- Demonstrate the collective professional view that differentiates harassment with the non-acceptance of conduct in any related situation of the practice of law.
The Legal Service Council has enforced the rules under Legal Profession Uniform Law on 26th May, 2015.
The main purpose of this rule is:
- To act in an ethical manner and to assist the solicitors by following the principles of professional conduct.
- To determine the engagement of solicitor in an unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.
- Any violation or breach of the rules that may constitute an unprofessional conduct or professional misconduct, then disciplinary action may be taken by the authority and but such action cannot be implemented by the third party.
A solicitor should act in the following manner:
- Must act in the best interest of the client in which the solicitor represents the client in any matter.
- Must be honest in legal practice while conducting the practice in a courteous manner.
- The delivery of legal services must be in a reasonable, competent and diligent manner.
- There must be no compromise while performing the professional conduct in accordance with the integrity and dignity of the solicitor.
- A solicitor must religiously follow the rules and law made in accordance with the Legal Professional Uniform Law.
Dishonest and Disreputable Conduct
A solicitor must not engage in any type of unprofessional conduct during the course of his practice. It basically means that he should not engage in any such conduct that depicts that he is not appropriate or fit to practice law, or which may show that:
- A solicitor is dis reputing the profession of law.
- The administration of justice should not lower the confidence of public by conducting any kind of unprofessional conduct or professional misconduct.
- A solicitor must always respect and honour the undertaking of his professional conduct and must ensure the productive performance of the undertaking while conducting his duty through competent jurisdiction of the court.
- A solicitor must not take the advice or look up to another solicitor, or that the associate, agent or employee of the solicitor, undertake any matter where the cooperation of third party is required which is actually not a party to the undertaking.
Most searched FAQs by the Students1. What is the need to have a code of conduct for solicitors?
The Code of Conduct sets the standards for the professional conduct of the solicitors in order to monitor their professional behaviour while providing their valuable legal services to the people.
2. What actions may be taken in breach of solicitors conduct rules?
Any breach of the solicitors conducts rules or unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct may impose disciplinary action that is to be taken by the respective authority, but a third party cannot have imposed or implement it.
3. Does the code of conduct bound a solicitor?
The prescribed set of rules and regulations about the maintaining of standard of professional conduct that is to be performed by the solicitors in England & Wales, by registering themselves as registered foreign lawyers, European lawyers and other recognised bodies. This abides the solicitors to bound by the Solicitors Code of Conduct.