14 December 2016
The end of 2016 is approaching rapidly and it has been a very big year for the Queensland legal profession. I want to take this opportunity to bring two things to your attention.
Consultation paper on regulating lawyers under AML/CTF
The Australian Government is currently consulting on extending Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime to lawyers and other occupations. Submissions are due 31 January 2017.
Queensland Law Society has maintained a position of significant concern at the imposition of additional unnecessary regulation and compliance costs on the local legal profession since the inception of the AML/CTF scheme in 2006. QLS is working with the Law Council of Australia and other law societies around the country to come to a coordinated response on behalf of solicitors.
QLS remains opposed to additional regulation for the Queensland legal profession without overwhelming justification. I don’t believe we have seen justification for extension of the AML/CTF regime to lawyers. Few would argue with the obligation to identify our clients properly, but we can never agree to obligations to make secret reports to government about our clients. This is fundamentally contrary to our duties as solicitors.
I invite all interested members to provide their comments or views to QLS via email.
Taking care in the Christmas season
The season of Christmas and New Year is for many a welcome break from the day-to-day pressures of practice. The hot days of summer bring an opportunity to spend time with family, friends and loved ones, and generally recharge for the challenges of the year to come.
But for some of our members this is the hardest part of the year. At this time I want to particularly remind all members to take care of themselves but also to look out for those around you. If you haven’t reached out to your local colleagues yet this year, now is the time to do it. Simply making a call or sharing a few minutes can make a world of difference.
QLS provides an array of support services for members.