Disclosing lawyers: questioning law and process in the admission of Australian lawyers

Bartlett, Francesca and Haller, Linda (2013) Disclosing lawyers: questioning law and process in the admission of Australian lawyers. Federal Law Review, 41 2: 227-264.

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Author Bartlett, Francesca
Haller, Linda
Title Disclosing lawyers: questioning law and process in the admission of Australian lawyers
Journal name Federal Law Review
ISSN 0067-205X
Publication date 2013
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 41
Issue 2
Start page 227
End page 264
Total pages 38
Place of publication Acton, ACT, Australia
Publisher Australian National University
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract Australian lawyers are assessed and admitted to practise at a state and territory level An important part of that assessment is an applicant's 'suitability' for professional practise; also referred to as the 'character test' of personal morality. This test requires applicants for admission to disclose relevant information about themselves including past conduct and (in at least one state) mental health status. Very little information about the process of admission is available. Around the country, we do not know how the character test is currently administered, how many applicants reveal past conduct, and how many are refused admission. This article focuses on the three largest jurisdictions of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. It traces their varying approaches to admission; from legislative provision, court interpretation to administrative approach. It also examines some rare data about disclosure patterns on applying for admission. The resulting analysis raises concerns about a range of matters relating to admission to legal practice in Australia. It is argued that the secrecy of process is unjustified; and there is lack of confidentiality, certainty, and possibly fairness, ensured for applicants, particularly where issues of mental health arise. Finally, it is argued that there is a great difference in law and process between the states considered. While the ostensible goal of protection of the public is the same, the approach is far from that
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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Created: Fri, 04 Oct 2013, 11:11:03 EST by Carmen Buttery on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law