Queensland Law Society

Amendment to the Legal Profession Act 2007—additional suitability matters and show cause events

The Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (Qld) came into force on 25 May 2020. It can be found here. It strengthens the provisions of the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld) (Act) relating to suitability matters and show cause processes for directors of insolvent incorporated legal practices and corporations.

Legal practitioner directors of incorporated legal practices and directors of corporations that are insolvent or become chapter 5 bodies corporate under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) should familiarise themselves with the amendments. A ‘chapter 5 body corporate’ has the meaning given to that term in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Practitioners will be aware of the need to declare suitability matters and show cause events during the renewals process, and for show cause events, to give notice to the Society under section 68 of the Act (in Form 7) within seven days of the event occurring.

The Society may take into account any suitability matters defined in section 9 of the Act and any of the matters set out in section 46 of the Act in determining whether a person is fit and proper to hold a practising certificate. Amendments have been made to sections 9 and 46 of the Act to include the following as suitability matters:

  • Section 9(1)(d)  whether the person is or has been a director of a corporation while the corporation is or was a chapter 5 body corporate;
  • Section 46(2) (g) whether the person is or was a legal practitioner director of an incorporated legal practice while the practice is or was insolvent;
  • Section 46(2)(h) whether the person is or was a director of a corporation while the corporation is or was insolvent.

The definition of show cause event’ in Schedule 2 to the Act has been extended to include:

  • (e) the person being a director of a corporation that becomes a chapter 5 body corporate.

 

What practitioners need to do

  1. Undecided applications for grant or renewal of practising certificate

If you have made an application for grant or renewal but have not yet received your practising certificate, then your application remains undecided.  This may be because the Society has not received payment.  The new suitability matters above apply to undecided applications (section 786(2) of the Act).  In those circumstances, sections 786(3) and (4) of the Act state that if a person:

  • is or has been a legal practitioner director of an incorporated legal practice while the practice is or was a chapter 5 body corporate: or
  • is or has been a director of a corporation while the corporation is or was a chapter 5 body corporate,

then, the person was required to give written notice of that fact to the Society by 1 June 2020. If this applies to you, please give notice by email to records@qls.com.au as soon as possible.

  1. New applications for grant or renewal of practising certificate

If you have not yet made an application for grant or renewal practising certificate, please declare all relevant suitability matters or show cause events, including any new ones listed above, if relevant.

  1. New show cause events

If any ‘show cause event’ occurs after 25 May 2020, including under the new paragraph (e) above, you must notify the Society of the show cause event in the usual way, by giving notice in Form 7 under section 68 of the Act within seven days of the event occurring.

If you require assistance, please call the Records and member services team on 1300 367 757, who will direct your query to the appropriate department.  Notifications can be made by email to records@qls.com.au.