Discipline of the Queensland legal profession

Haller, Linda Ruth. (2006). Discipline of the Queensland legal profession PhD Thesis, T.C. Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland.

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Author Haller, Linda Ruth.
Thesis Title Discipline of the Queensland legal profession
School, Centre or Institute T.C. Beirne School of Law
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2006-11-22
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Supervisor Reid Mortensen
Francesca Bartlett
Total pages 368
Language eng
Subjects 1801 Law
Formatted abstract
The thesis compares legal and social theories about the discipline of lawyers with an examination of the actual experience in Queensland. It closely examines rationales for discipline contained in case law and legislation. While a tension exists between the Supreme Court and the legislature - as the court has continued to enforce a much narrower common law view of discipline - both emphasise that an individual lawyer is only to be disciplined if this is necessary to protect the public. Reputational concerns are not sufficient to justify action. The thesis then contrasts this with the social theories of Larson (The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological Analysis) and Halliday (Beyond Monopoly). A close reading of their work reveals a prediction that the profession will use professional discipline to gain external legitimacy - to enhance its reputation - not to protect the public.

The thesis then examines the role that the Queensland legal profession has played, both in establishing disciplinary structures and in the use of those structures, to look for evidence of the profession taking initiatives to protect the public, even when this was unlikely to enhance, or could even harm, its reputation. Specific chapters are devoted to the orders made by disciplinary tribunals in Queensland, given that selective use of strike off orders is more likely to enhance the profession's reputation than less decisive measures (such as suspensions and fines). The degree to which publicity has enhanced or detracted from any legitimation project is also examined. The thesis documents strong differences in the two branches of the Queensland legal profession and considers possible reasons for this, as well as the utility of the social theories referred to previously.

Even stronger than the courts' emphasis of protection not reputation as the justification for discipline, has been their rejection of punishment. The thesis concludes that a higher degree of retribution is present than has been conceded. Retribution can be seen in the types of orders imposed, the reasons given, and the personal factors used to mitigate orders. The thesis considers possible reasons for the presence of this retributive approach, and its possible interplay with protection and legitimation.
Keyword Lawyers -- Discipline
Practice of law -- Queensland
Additional Notes The author has given permission for this thesis to be made open access.

Document type: Thesis
Collections: Queensland Past Online (QPO)
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Wed, 04 Nov 2009, 10:19:34 EST by Ms Christine Heslehurst on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service