The Executive Committee assists Council with the regulatory and committee administration of the Society.
The Executive consists of the President, Deputy President, Vice President, Immediate Past President and four elected Councillors. The 2021 Executive Committee Members are:
- President Elizabeth Shearer
- Vice President Kara Thomson
- Immediate Past President Luke Murphy
- Councillor Michael Brennan
- Councillor Chloe Kopilovic
- Councillor Kirsty Mackie
- Councillor Justin McDonnell
The committee is supported by the Office of the Secretariat and operates in accordance with the Executive Committee Charter.
The Executive Committee generally meets once per month and makes decisions within the powers delegated to it by QLS Council. These include the powers to appoint members to QLS Committees as well as professional regulation matters under the Legal Profession Act 2007 (the Act), including decisions regarding:
- external interventions into law practices, ie appointing receivers, managers or supervisors
- whether an applicant is a fit and proper person for grant or renewal of a practising certificate
- amending, suspending or cancelling practising certificates
- applications by disqualified persons seeking to work as lay associates.
The committee does not deal with conduct complaints, which are within the jurisdiction of the Legal Services Commission, nor does it have an investigative function.
Matters come before the committee upon submission from the Society’s Regulation division. The Society and the committee adhere to the rules of natural justice, the Human Rights Act and sound administrative decision making, including giving practitioners the opportunity to provide the committee with a response to Regulation’s submission before decisions are made. All decisions are made on the papers; the committee does not enter into discussions with practitioners or their representatives. Many types of decisions made by the committee require an information notice to be provided to the practitioner/applicant setting out the decision, the reasons for the decision and information about any rights of review under the Act.
If you are the subject of a regulation matter to be decided by the Executive Committee:
- You will be emailed or given a copy of the submission prepared by the QLS Regulation team.
- You will be provided with an email address to which your response should be sent and a date by which to provide the response, so that the Executive Committee has adequate time to consider your response ahead of the meeting. Please contact the Society as soon as possible if you wish to provide a response but cannot do so by the due date.
- You may wish to engage a solicitor to assist you with your response. Responses should address the relevant issues. If responses are voluminous the Executive Committee may require additional time before deciding the matter.
- The matter will be decided by the Executive Committee on the papers (the committee does not hear oral submissions or enter into discussions with practitioners/applicants or their representatives).
- In due course, you will be notified of the outcome of the matter via email and/or by post. Some decisions will require the issue of an information notice.
- Depending on the decision and its impacts, you may receive further contact from the Regulation team regarding next steps (for example, steps involved in closing your law practice or complying with conditions on your practising certificate).
Please note the following:
- In communicating with the Society, polite, courteous, timely and frank responses are always encouraged.
- Submissions, show cause notices and information notices are sent directly to the practitioner or their legal representative.
- It is the practitioner’s responsibility to consider which other persons should be notified in relation to a regulation matter to be considered by the committee (for example their employer or law practice partners).
- When a matter is on foot, the committee does not disclose information about regulation matters to members (or non-members) of the Society (such as employers) and maintains confidentiality in accordance with section 705 of the Act.
- Once a decision has been made that requires an information notice, the committee has no discretion under the Act and must give the information notice to the practitioner or their legal representative.
- Information notices are disclosed to the Legal Services Commission pursuant to the information sharing agreement made pursuant to section 704 of the Act.
- Pursuant to section 81(2) of the Act, the published register of solicitors must state any conditions imposed on a practising certificate.
- The appointment of external interveners is published in Proctor and QLS Update.
- Where the decision of the Executive Committee may impact the rights or obligations of a law practice, the principal or directors of that law practice may be informed of the decision once the practitioner has been served with the information notice or consented to conditions.
- Information notices may also be provided to other Society staff where necessary (for example the Records team, to record conditions on the register or staff involved in providing education courses required by conditions).
- In some circumstances the Society has a duty to report suspected offences to the police or other authorities (including under section 706 of the Act).
- Where there is a right of review to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Tribunal conducts a merits review to arrive at the correct and preferable decision. There is no internal review of decisions within the Society, nor will the Executive Committee displace QCAT’s jurisdiction by reconsidering its own decisions.
The Society appreciates receiving correspondence in relation to a regulatory matter can be quite stressful and reminds members there is wellbeing support for members through Lawcare (https://www.qls.com.au/Services/Personal-Services/LawCare).