Powers, Objects and Mission

The Law Society was established as a voluntary professional association for members of the legal profession in 1879.

Powers

The Law Society of South Australia is one of a small number of professional organisations recognised by and given specific powers under an Act of Parliament.
Under the Legal Practitioners Act, 1981, the Law Society may
  • appoint inspectors to examine trust accounts maintained by legal practitioners;
  • appoint a supervisor to exercise control over trust accounts of legal practitioners where proper cause exists;
  • appoint a manager in respect of the practice of a practitioner or former practitioner;
  • establish a scheme to provide professional indemnity insurance for the benefit of legal practitioners;
  • manage and administer moneys deposited in the Combined Trust Account;
  • maintain the Statutory Interest account and the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund;
  • establish the validity of claims made under the Fidelity Fund; and
  • make an application to the Supreme Court or to the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner concerning the conduct of a legal practitioner.
The preceding powers and responsibilities accorded to The Law Society by the Legal Practitioners Act, 1981 are in addition to the general powers relating to a body corporate listed in the Act.

Objects

The formal objects of the Society are included in the Rules of the Society. They are:
  1. to perform the duties and fulfil the functions provided for by the Act;
  2. to preserve and uphold the integrity and independence of the legal profession, and the rule of law;
  3. to represent the professional interests and views of members and of the legal profession in appropriate forums, in or before relevant bodies and groups, before Government and its agencies and in the media and the community;
  4. to provide professional services, resources, support and benefits to members of the Society;
  5. to provide opportunity for appropriate professional and social interaction between members;
  6. to establish and maintain high standards of professional conduct and etiquette for adoption by the profession, to monitor such standards and provide a means for adjusting professional differences;
  7. to provide a range of educational services to members and to others including continuing legal education, practical legal training and other educational activities;
  8. to undertake community education concerning the law and the legal profession and to undertake activities designed to improve access to justice and strengthen the community's understanding of any confidence in the legal profession and the justice system;
  9. to advocate strongly and publicly for the maintenance and protection of legal rights and freedoms, and the independent role of lawyers and the courts in the justice system;
  10. to promote reforms of the law and its administration.
The above objects were agreed to by the Annual General Meeting of the Society held on 21 October 1993, on 30 September 1994, reaffirmed by the Executive on 5 June 2004, and amended (with the Rules of the Law Society) on 28 October 2013, 27 October 2014 and 24 October 2015.
 

Mission (Long Form)

The Law Society's principal mission is to represent its members and the legal profession in general.

The Society has a responsibility to interact with Government and Parliamentarians in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act, legal representation, parliamentary and other inquiries, legal fees and costs, and legislative development.

The interests of members will be served of through a balanced provision of activities which deliver educational development, information, maximisation of work opportunities, specific financial and other direct benefits, and through representation of member and profession interests in wide-ranging community activities. The health and well-being of members will be provided for through appropriate support programs.

The Society is enhanced by the full and effective involvement of its members irrespective of their background, race, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

The Society will promote the broad diversity of its membership on all governing and policy committees. 

The Society accepts its major statutory responsibilities which include a significant role in admission of practitioners, control of practising certificates, administration of an appropriate professional indemnity insurance scheme, responding to matters relating to professional conduct and standards, providing trust account supervision and the supervision or management of practices in difficulty or trouble, administration of the Fidelity Fund, and involvement in the disciplining of legal professionals.

The Society assumes a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, including the independence of the profession and the separation of powers, the fair administration of justice and equitable access to the justice system

It undertakes a substantial community service obligation through provision various services, including community education, and through public comment on legally-related items of public interest.
 

 

Mission (Short Form)

The principal mission of the Society is to serve and represent its Members, enhance the legal profession in South Australia and to preserve the integrity of the justice system.