Professional standards

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About our scheme

The New South Wales Professional Standards Scheme was made pursuant to the Professional Standards Act 1994 and commenced on Wednesday 19 January 2005.

What does it do? 

It limits the amount of damages payable for occupational liability to $1.5 million.  Occupational liability is defined as ‘civil liability arising (in tort, contract or otherwise) directly or vicariously from anything done or omitted by a member of an occupational association acting in the performance of his or her occupation’.  Section 5 of the Act lists the types of occupational liability not covered under the scheme.

Who is covered? 

The association’s scheme applies only to members of the Bar Association who hold a NSW practising certificate and have approved professional indemnity insurance (section 17).  Schemes do not apply to individuals who are not members of the relevant occupational association. 

Members' obligations 

The Professional Standards Council has issued its Policy Statement on Disclosure of Limited Liability, which gives guidance to persons covered by a scheme about how they can meet their mandatory obligations to disclose they have limited liability. All members who are covered by the scheme are required to advise all clients (including briefing solicitors) of the cap in their liability by virtue of the scheme.  

Disclosure statement

The Act requires that ‘if a person’s occupational liability is limited in accordance with this Part [Part 2], all documents given by the person to a client or prospective client that promote or advertise the person or person’s occupation, including official correspondence ordinarily used by the person in the performance of the person’s occupation and similar document, must carry a statement to that effect’ (s 33). The disclosure statement will be sufficient if it uses the words specified in clause 9 of the regulations i.e. ‘Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation’. 

Important documents