Our profession has much of which to be proud as I come to end of my year as your 2016 president.
I said at the beginning of the year that I am a proud to be a Queensland solicitor and after a year in the role as the QLS’s most privileged elected position it has given me a great amount of respect and pride in the more than 13,000 solicitors across the state.
I have long believed that advocacy for good law and educating the public as to what we do as lawyers is integral to enhancing and fortifying the reputation of Queensland solicitors. Advocacy is key to this process and I am honoured the profession has provided me the opportunity to make a difference.
Our profession continues to face unprecedented challenges. Economic and global competitive risks, technological change, regulatory compliance, higher rates of mental distress and graduate oversupply, are forces with which all Queensland solicitors contend.
However, over the past year your QLS has taken enormous strides to ensure the profession is stronger as we head into 2017.
During 2016, your Society’s policy committees made 105 advocacy submissions, attended 14 Parliamentary hearings and had 85 successes from advocacy work.
Among those highlights were:
- 17-year-olds being moved out of adult prisons
- Limitation periods being removed for child sex abuse cases
- A class actions regime introduced into Queensland
- Catastrophically injured people retained their common law rights in the NIIS
- Our Federal Call to Parties was approved and released with an ALP commitment to more CLC funding and more family law judges in Brisbane
- Law firm prescribed accounts were abolished from 1 January this year, which is of course a red tape reduction for members
- Government is considering the position of administration of funds for orphans following the Maggs v RACQ decision
- The reversal of the onus of proof proposed in Vegetation Management Bill was defeated
- VLAD laws were replaced the by the Serious and Organised Crime Bill.
Leading on from our advocacy work, QLS maintained a highly visible presence in the media and was an active member in thought leadership in the profession with more than 4000 media mentions across all platforms such as newspapers, television, radio, online and via social media.
QLS also had a very busy year assisting our profession.
Our QLS Ethics Centre presented 50 Bespoke Ethics Sessions, opened 3569 ethical and practice support guidance matters and attended 31 Practice Support Consultancy Service visits.
We released Guidance Statement No.6 – Form of Delivery for Client Documents.
We were also pleased to launch our Domestic and Family Violence Best Practice Guidelines for members as a result of the Not Now, Not Ever report.
This past year has placed great challenges in our way, but as a membership-driven Society we have made a great contribution to the legal profession.
It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as your president throughout 2016. I look forward to continuing to serve the Society throughout 2017 as your immediate past president.
I also look forward to assisting the incoming president Christine Smyth and supporting her in continuing her vision for the continued good work of good lawyers in Queensland.
President, Queensland Law Society