Unqualified practice of the law is prohibited by sections 14 and 15 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 because it exposes the public to great risks, including poor legal advice and representation, deception and no recourse to assistance should something go wrong.
Unqualified practice also damages the reputation of the profession and is unfair for solicitors who comply with all financial and ethical obligations.
Who is an unqualified practitioner?
Unqualified practitioners are persons who engage in legal practice, or hold out that they are entitled to so engage, when they are not the holders of a current solicitor’s Practising Certificate and not entitled to engage in legal practice.
What are the penalties?
Heavy penalties can be imposed upon persons who breach sections 14 and 15 of the Legal Profession Act 2004, including a maximum penalty of 200 units.
How to report unqualified practitioners
The Law Society’s Find a Lawyer facility holds a list of all solicitors in New South Wales who hold Practising Certificates.
If you believe that any person is conducting a legal practice or performing legal work without holding a Practising Certificate, information setting out your concern should be provided, in writing, to:
Professional Standards Department
Law Society of New South Wales
170 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000
What are the remedies available against unqualified practitioners?
There are two remedies for breaches of sections 14 and 15 of the Legal Profession Act 2004:
- Summary proceedings before a magistrate which must be commenced within 12 months after the date of the alleged offence, or
- Proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW, seeking an injunction restraining a person from contravening Part 2.2.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org