Queensland Law Society

President's update - 1 Aug 2018

We are now halfway through the year, so I would like to share some of the work your Society has been doing for you this year so far. Our focus has been on the relationships we build and maintain with our members, stakeholders, government and community, along with supporting good lawyers, advocating for good law and looking out for the public good.

I have enjoyed visiting our members and stakeholders, either through livestream or in person. Visits to Mackay, Townsville, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Roma, Townsville, Ipswich, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Brisbane and surrounds have been valuable for understanding what is important to our members.

We have also had the opportunity to recognise our long-term members through our pin presentations to 25 and 50-year members. We hold these ceremonies throughout the year, with the most recent in Townsville last week. It’s a pleasure to be able to recognise this milestone in person with our distinguished practitioners.

Our advocacy work has continued to gain momentum, with our financial year figures revealing 390 successes in our policy space – from meetings and attendance at public hearings, to submissions, media exposure and quotes in Hansard. I look forward to thanking our committee chairs in person for their dedication and hard work later this month. I encourage members to look out for opportunities to provide feedback on legislation by keeping an eye out in each week’s edition of this newsletter.

Recently, we stood up for good law and due process, by speaking out about the Local Government (Dissolution of Ipswich City Council) Bill 2018. When we were alerted to the Bill being rushed through, we wrote to the Minister, requesting clarity on why the newly enacted process was being abandoned in favour of this legislation before it had been finalised. The result of this saw the Bill being referred to a parliamentary committee for consideration.

We have now also made our submission on the Bill, raising some concerns including timing and the breach of fundamental legislative principles such as due process and presumption of innocence. You can view our submission online. We will continue to stand up for our profession and due process, to ensure that the community maintains trust in our system at all levels.

The other issue we have recently seen success in is that of claim farming. After agitating for a change in this space, warning the public to deal directly with solicitors, and warning solicitors of the perils of claim farming, the Queensland Government announced that it would introduce legislation to stamp out the practice.

Although we welcome the news, the timing is not ideal and we had hoped for a more expedited approach. We will continue to lobby for the introduction to come sooner rather than later. We have been working with the Government and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) for several years, making submissions and suggesting reform. We will continue to stand up for the ethical standards of our solicitors, and work with the Government on legislative changes that look out for the public good.

Thank you to our committee members for the great work they do in contributing to good law in Queensland, and also to our members who have provided feedback on legislation.