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Notification of offences and statements of 'automatic show cause events'

When applying for an Australian practising certificate in New South Wales, applicants must address each of the matters referred to in rule 13(1) of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 in considering whether or not they are a fit and proper person to hold an Australian practising certificate. 

Section 87 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) requires that an applicant must provide to the Law Society Council a statement about any automatic show cause event and explain why, despite the show cause event, the applicant considers himself or herself to be a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate.

An 'automatic show cause event' is any of the following in relation to a person who is an application for or the holder of a certificate:

  • a bankruptcy-related event;
  • ‘his or her conviction for a serious offence or a tax offence, whether or not - 
    • the offence was committed while he or she was engaging in legal practice as an Australian legal practitioner or was practising foreign law as an Australian-registered foreign lawyer; or
    • other persons are prohibited from disclosing the identity of the offender;
  • an event of a kind specified in the Uniform Rules for the purposes of this section. 
  • The term "conviction" is defined in section 6 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and includes a finding of guilt, or the acceptance of a guilty plea by the court, whether or not a conviction is recorded.


A "bankruptcy-related event" is defined in section 6 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and, in relation to a person, means; 

  • his or her becoming bankruptcy in the Bankruptcy Act (or the corresponding provisions of the law of a foreign country or external territory); or
  • his or her being served with a notice of a creditor's petition presented to a court under section 43 of the Bankruptcy Act; or
  • his or her presentation (as a debtor) of a declaration to the Official Receiver under section 54A of the Bankruptcy Act of his or her intention to present a debtor's petition or his or her presentation (as a debtor) of such petition under section 55 of that Act;or
  • his or her applying to take the benefit of any law (whether Australian or otherwise) for the relief f bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounding with his or her creditors or making an assignment of his or her remuneration for their benefit.
  • The term "serious offence" is defined in section 6 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and means;

  • an indictable offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory (whether or not the office is or may be dealt with summarily); or
  • an offence against the law of a foreign country that would be an indictable offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory if committed in Australia (whether or not the offence could be dealt with summarily if committed in Australia).
  • The term "tax office" is defined in section 6 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and means any offence under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 of the Commonwealth. 
     

How to notify the Law Society

To notify the Law Society of a conviction, charge or an 'automatic show cause event' please complete a Notice and Statement of an Automatic Show Cause Event and send your completed form, together with any relevant court documentation, to the Society's Professional Standards Department. 

What happens if notification is not provided?

If a solicitor fails to notify the Law Society of an 'automatic show cause' event, he or she has committed professional misconduct. Such failure may lead to refusal to grant, cancellation or suspension of a practising certificate. 

What happens after notification of a 'show cause' event?

The Law Society Council will investigate the matter to determine whether or not the solicitor is a fit and proper person to hold an Australian practising certificate and whether any discretionary conditions need to be imposed on his or her practise of the law.

Please contact the Professional Standards Department on (02) 9926 0390 for assistance.
 

CONTACT

  • Professional Standards Department
  • Law Society of NSW
  • 170 Phillip Street
  • Sydney NSW 2000
  • DX 362 Sydney
  • T: (02) 9926 0390
  • F: (02) 9221 5804
  • E: psd@lawsociety.com.au