Q: How are solicitors admitted in Queensland?
Information on being admitted as a legal practitioner, such as supervised traineeships, how to apply for admission and any admission certification-related queries are usually best answered by the Legal Practitioners Admissions Board (LPAB).
Q: What does Queensland Law Society (QLS) do for the community?
For the community, we aim to provide leadership in law by:
- reviewing proposed legislation to ensure it is fair and just
- providing submissions to government where we identify issues
- increasing community understanding of the law, their rights and legal services
- advocating for access to justice to ensure all people have fair access to legal representation.
Q: Why choose a solicitor?
Engaging a solicitor offers the benefits of:
- guidance, advice and securing your wishes in legal documentation
- entrusting your matter to a professional who understands current legislation and how it affects your interests
- finding better alternatives to legal issues you may not have considered
- helping people avoid potential negative consequences if their issue escalates or becomes more complicated.
Q: When should I consult a legal professional?
You should see a solicitor when:
- preparing or before signing a legal document (eg contract)
- preparing a will
- buying or selling a home
- setting up or changing your business
- negotiating financial changes (eg increase or decrease in wealth)
- changing insurance
- experiencing domestic change
- when liable for, or the potential recipient of, compensation
- if you believe a good or service breaches the law.
Q: What are the alternatives to going to court?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) could be the best alternative to court actions, potentially saving money, time and the emotional toll of litigation. There are four main types of ADR:
- Mediation is where an independent and neutral person such as a solicitor helps the parties work out the issues in dispute, and come up with an acceptable solution.
- Conciliation is a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a neutral person, identify the disputed issues. The conciliator
may have an advisory role on the content of the dispute or the outcome of its resolution, but not a determinative one.
- Collaborative law involves both parties and their legal representatives signing an agreement to reach a settlement without resorting to litigation.
- Arbitration uses an independent arbitrator to act as a judge and make a binding decision.
Q: What are ‘no win, no fee’ actions?
Some law firms advertise ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements. These arrangements mean that if the case is unsuccessful, the client does not have to pay legal fees for the law firm they have engaged. However, should the case be unsuccessful, the other party’s legal fees will still have to be paid and disbursements may be charged. These fees should be discussed in a preliminary meeting between lawyer and client.
Q: Can a loan be taken out for solicitors’ fees?
Litigation lenders provide funding to enable people to pursue legal action. Litigation loans are most common for class actions and personal injury claims, but are also available for some family law and deceased estate cases.
These loans are usually for expenses such as court fees and expert medical reports, but may also cover lawyers’ fees. If you are considering this option, you should seek legal advice from an independent lawyer as well as financial advice beforehand.
Estate planning (wills and powers of attorney)
Q: Estate planning - do I really need a will?
Yes. Otherwise the laws of intestacy will apply. This means your assets may be sold to satisfy debts and shared among beneficiaries, or, if there are no relatives, assets may be given to the state government. It may take longer for the administration of your estate to be finalised, reducing its ultimate value. It may also result in assets being passed to people you had not wished to inherit.
Q: What is the difference between The Public Trustee and a solicitor’s services?
Planning what happens to your estate is an essential exercise everyone should consider. Making your will can be done by a seeing a solicitor or The Public Trustee.
The basis of the Public Trustee's charges is similar to that of the solicitor in that a "fee for service" charge is applied for the work undertaken in completing the administration of an estate which is also based on an hourly fee. Upon accepting the administration of an estate, the matter is allocated to a Trust Officer who will attend all work required in administering the estate.
Q: What’s the best advice for giving to a charity?
When making or changing one’s will, a bequest can be made directly to a chosen charity/ies or through the Queensland Community Foundation (QCF). QCF manages bequests to a wide variety of charities and invests donations as a long-term asset, creating an ongoing income stream for the chosen non-profit. Visit qcf.org.au or call 07 3360 3854.
Alternatively, a comprehensive list of Australian charities can be found on auscharity.org
Q: Separation - is there another option to seeing a solicitor?
People can contact a Family Relationship Centre where staff can provide guidance, but not legal advice. There are 13 Family Relationship Centres in Queensland, available to help families at any stage of their relationship as well as developing a parenting plan for a couple if they separate. The first three hours are free. Contact familyrelationships.gov.au
Q: Are there organisations that can help me with my family issue?
Community assistance is available through the following organisations:
- Legal Aid Queensland
Under certain circumstances you may be eligible for a free legal advice grant through Legal Aid Queensland. An application requires that the person meets the means test criteria, the case comes within set government guidelines, and has reasonable prospects of succeeding. Visit legalaid.qld.gov.au for the exact requirements.
- Community Legal Centres
33 accredited Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in Queensland provide an initial free consultation on most matters of law. The Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services, or QAILS, is the peak body for CLCs. These centres can be located here.
- Child Support Agency
The Child Support Agency administers the Australian Government’s Child Support Scheme and helps parents in the financial support of their children after separation. Go to csa.gov.au or call 13 12 72.
- Centrelink/Family Assistance Office
Centrelink and the Family Assistance Office (FAO) can help with financial assistance, child care costs and finding a job via humanservices.gov.au or calling the FAO on 13 62 40.
- DV (domestic violence) Connect 1800 811 811 (womensline), or 1800 600 636 (mensline)
- Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321.