About the

Ethics Unit

The law is a challenging profession which confronts solicitors with sensitive issues requiring fine judgments to be made at every turn. Legal practice has also long been one of the most highly regulated professions in the country, with strict codes of conduct and prescriptive legislation.

In response to this complex environment, the Law Society's Ethics Unit can assist practitioners with their professional and ethical obligations.

Part of the Professional Standards Department, the Ethics Unit is staffed by a team of experienced ethics solicitors. They provide prompt and reasoned information to solicitors in line with established ethical and legal principles.

The unit researches relevant ethical and legal developments and submits timely and informative reports to the Society's Ethics Committee. It also provides ethics education, including the publication of articles in the LSJ and CPD to solicitors.

Statement of Ethics

The true profession of law is based on an ideal of honourable service. 
Riley, NSW Solicitors Manual

We acknowledge the role of our profession in serving our community in the administration of justice. We recognise that the law should protect the rights and freedoms of members of society. We understand that we are responsible to our community to observe high standards of conduct and behaviour when we perform our duties to the courts, our clients and our fellow practitioners.

Our conduct and behaviour should reflect the character we aspire to have as a profession.

This means that as individuals engaged in the profession and as a profession:

  • We primarily serve the interests of justice.
  • We act competently and diligently in the service of our clients.
  • We advance our clients' interests above our own.
  • We act confidentially and in the protection of all client information.
  • We act together for the mutual benefit of our profession.
  • We avoid any conflict of interest and duties.
  • We observe strictly our duty to the court of which we are officers to ensure the proper and efficient administration of justice.
  • We seek to maintain the highest standards of integrity, honesty and fairness in all our dealings.
  • We charge fairly for our work.

Proclaimed by the Law Society's Council, 28 May 2009.

Solicitors' Rules

The Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitor's Conduct Rules 2015 are binding on all NSW solicitors and embody many of the concepts arising out of case law and recognised fiduciary duties.

The Legal Profession Uniform Legal Practice (Solicitor's) Rules 2015 also deal with some of the obligations owed by solicitors.

The Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 require all solicitors to complete one hour of ethics CPD every year.

Ethics assistance line

Whatever issue you face, from confidentiality to conflicts of interests, the Law Society’s Ethics Unit can assist.

The ethics assistance line provides solicitors with practical and confidential guidance to resolve ethical dilemmas and to help avoid complaints from clients or colleagues.

Open to all solicitors, this free service operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

To contact an ethics solicitor:

  • call (02) 9926 0114
  • email ethics@lawsociety.com.au
  • visit Law Society reception at Level 3, 170 Phillip Street, Sydney