From time to time the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) conducts consultations on issues relating to legal practice that warrant further consideration.
The consultations provide the OLSC with an opportunity to hear from the stakeholders of the legal profession, lawyers and the general public.
Previous consultations have included, for example, an analysis of the rules and regulations in relation to conflicts of interest and an evaluation of the billing methods of legal practitioners in Australia and overseas.
Social Media Practice Note
In March 2013 the OLSC produced a draft set of practice notes on the use of social media networking services by lawyers. After consultation the practice notes were finalised.
In 2012 the OLSC produced a draft set of practice notes on 'Cloud Computing and Outsourcing' for consideration by the profession and the public.
The practice notes address practice issues relating to the use of cloud computing services and outsourcing by lawyers.
The practice notes were finalised in January 2013.
In February 2004 the Premier of New South Wales called for an Inquiry examining the current legal costs system, the calculation of costs and the methods by which costs were presented to a client.
A Legal Fees Review Panel was established. The Panel members at that time included:
The panel undertook an extensive consultation process on the issues raised in the Inquiry. At the conclusion of the consultation process, the panel produced a discussion paper.
The discussion paper provides an analysis of complaints identified in complaints received by the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner and also outlines many of the issues concerning legal fees and billing options.
The discussion paper:
In 2003 the Legal Services Commissioner (LSC) established a working party to discuss the HIH Royal Commission Report, HIH Royal Commissioner Neville Owen's comments in relation to potential conflict of interest situations.
Whilst the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC), the Law Society of NSW and the NSW Bar Association can try to persuade a solicitor or barrister from acting in an "actual" conflict situation, the legislation does not empower the regulators to prevent a legal practitioner from acting in a "perceived" or "potential" conflict situation.
In the HIH Royal Commission Report, HIH Royal Commissioner, Neville Owen, criticised law firms who chose to act for clients in a "potential" conflict of interest situation.
The LSC was concerned that the principles in relation to conflict of interests may be outdated and in need of review. The LSC also expressed his concern that the public' s perception of solicitors and barristers acting in conflict of interest situations was damaging to the profession' s reputation.
In view of the above, the LSC invited various interest groups to attend a Working Party meeting in September 2003 to discuss the current rules in relation to conflict of interests and potential changes.
The invitees included the Director General of the Attorney General' s Department and representatives from the Law Society of NSW, the NSW Bar Association, Law Reform Commission, Legal Profession Advisory Council, NSW Law Schools, consultants to legal practices, and a range of solicitors and barristers from sole practitioners to large law firms.
The Working Party' s objectives were to enquire into and review the law and practise relating to conflict of interests. The Working Party was also required to explore the mechanisms for resolving such conflicts.
The Working Party met under the following Terms of Reference:
The final Working Party meeting was held in April 2004 and a discussion paper was produced.
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