Australia-Solicitors' Conduct Rules

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Long Title: 
Australian Solicitors' Conduct Rules as adopted by the Law Society of South Australia
Published/Promulgated by
Name of entity: 
Law Society of South Ausralia
Type of entity: 
Professional Body
Year: 
2011
Country: 
Australia
Who is subject to this regulation?: 
Solicitors

The Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules were adopted by the Council of the Law Society of South Australia on 25 July 2011 and were the culmination of work undertaken over a period of two years by the Law Council of Australia and its constituent bodies to develop a single, uniform set of Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules. See below for a detailed chronology of the development and implementation process. Nationally uniform professional conduct rules are an important step towards creating a national legal profession in Australia. Their adoption will ensure that all Australian solicitors are bound by a common set of professional obligations and ethical principles when dealing with their clients, the courts, their fellow legal practitioners and other persons. Although South Australia and Queensland are the only jurisdictions to implement the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules so far, it is hoped that the other Australian jurisdictions will follow suit as soon as possible. It is important to understand the function and purpose of the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules. Firstly, they are not a complete and comprehensive statement of all of the ethical obligations that must be observed by legal practitioners. There are many common law and statutory ethical duties and obligations that legal practitioners must comply with and that are not covered by the Rules. Secondly, the Rules are not laws. That is, a breach of the Rules alone does not result in any penalty or disciplinary action. It is only when a breach of the Rules forms the basis for a finding by the relevant body that the practitioner concerned has committed an act of unsatisfactory or unprofessional conduct that disciplinary action will result. The Rules simply set a standard of behaviour or conduct that should be observed by practitioners in certain circumstances. They are an accepted measure for the use of practitioners so they can ensure that they act appropriately in the circumstances demonstrated in the Rules, and disciplinary bodies so they can have a baseline against which to compare conduct by a practitioner that fits within the circumstances provided for in the Rules.

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