Uniform Law

One legal services market in NSW and Victoria

The Legal Profession Uniform Law came into operation in NSW and Victoria  on 1 July 2015, creating a common legal services market across NSW and Victoria. The Uniform Law aims to harmonise regulatory obligations while retaining local performance of regulatory functions. It regulates the legal profession across the two jurisdictions, governing matters such as practising certificates, cost disclosure and billing arrangements, complaint handling processes and professional discipline issues and continuing professional development requirements.

The Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 introduced the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and these replaced the Legal Profession Act 2004 as well as the regulations and rules made under that Act. Learn more here.

Uniform Rules

The Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Rules 2015 came  into force on 1 July, along with the rest of the Uniform Law Scheme. The new Uniform Conduct Rules are based on the Australian Bar Association’s ‘Model Rules’, which had been adopted in NSW, in the current NSW Barristers Rules 2014. 

The legislation provides for categories of Uniform Rules, which contain much of the detail of the Uniform Law scheme, including the types of provisions found in regulations and rules made under the current Legal Profession legislation. The Australian Bar Association is responsible for developing Legal Profession Conduct Rules and Continuing Professional Development Rules for barristers.  

Fees in advance

The legislation that regulates barristers receiving fees in advance in direct access matters changed on 1 July 2015. Clause 106A of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 was repealed on that date (along with the Legal Profession Act 2004). The new provision is clause 15 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015. Read more about fees in advance .

Costs and billing under the Uniform Law

The legal costs provisions in: Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (NSW); Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW); Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015; and Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015 (NSW) supersede the costs and billing provisions of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW), the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 (NSW) and existing precedents. 

Interstate practitioners

The Law Council of Australia has published a  fact sheet, which provides an overview of the arrangements that will apply to interstate practitioners when practising in New South Wales and Victoria from 1 July 2015, and discusses other aspects of the Uniform Law framework of relevance to interstate practitioners.

Register of delegations

The Council of the New South Wales Bar Association is the designated local regulatory authority for a range of functions under the Uniform Law. Those functions have been delegated. A register of the delegations is available here  .