Part 1 Preliminary rules
1.1 These Rules are designated as Legal Profession Conduct Rules and may be cited as the Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2015.
2.1 These Rules come into operation on 1 July 2015.rule 2: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
3.1 The objective of these Rules is to assist solicitors to act ethically and in accordance with the principles of professional conduct established by the common law and these Rules.
4 Authorising provisions
4.1 These Rules were developed by the Law Council of Australia in accordance with section 427 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law and are made by the Legal Services Council under Part 9.2 of that Law.
Part 2 Operational rules
Nature and purpose of the Rules
1 Application and interpretation
1.1 These Rules apply as the Legal Profession Conduct Rules under the Legal Profession Uniform Law to solicitors and Australian-registered foreign lawyers acting in the manner of a solicitor.1.2 The definitions that apply in these Rules are set out in the glossary.
2 Purpose and effect of the Rules
2.1 The purpose of these Rules is to assist solicitors to act ethically and in accordance with the principles of professional conduct established by the common law and these Rules.2.2 In considering whether a solicitor has engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct, the Rules apply in addition to the common law.2.3 A breach of these Rules is capable of constituting unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct, and may give rise to disciplinary action by the relevant regulatory authority.
Fundamental duties of solicitors
3 Paramount duty to the court and the administration of justice
3.1 A solicitor’s duty to the court and the administration of justice is paramount and prevails to the extent of inconsistency with any other duty.
4 Other fundamental ethical duties
4.1 A solicitor must also—4.1.1 act in the best interests of a client in any matter in which the solicitor represents the client,4.1.2 be honest and courteous in all dealings in the course of legal practice,4.1.3 deliver legal services competently, diligently and as promptly as reasonably possible,4.1.4 avoid any compromise to their integrity and professional independence, and4.1.5 comply with these Rules and the law.
5 Standard of conduct—dishonest or disreputable conduct
5.1 A solicitor must not engage in conduct, in the course of legal practice or otherwise, which—5.1.1 demonstrates that the solicitor is not a fit and proper person to practise law, or5.1.2 is likely to a material degree to—(i) be prejudicial to, or diminish the public confidence in, the administration of justice, or(ii) bring the profession into disrepute.rule 5: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .
6 Undertakings in the course of legal practice
6.1 A solicitor who has given an undertaking in the course of legal practice must honour that undertaking and ensure the timely and effective performance of the undertaking, unless released by the recipient or by a court of competent jurisdiction.6.2 A solicitor must not seek from another solicitor, or that solicitor’s employee, associate, or agent, undertakings in respect of a matter, that would require the co-operation of a third party who is not party to the undertaking.rule 6: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
Relations with clients
7 Communication of advice
7.1 A solicitor must provide clear and timely advice to assist a client to understand relevant legal issues and to make informed choices about action to be taken during the course of a matter, consistent with the terms of the engagement.7.2 A solicitor must inform the client or the instructing solicitor about the alternatives to fully contested adjudication of the case which are reasonably available to the client, unless the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that the client already has such an understanding of those alternatives as to permit the client to make decisions about the client’s best interests in relation to the matter.
8 Client instructions
8.1 A solicitor must follow a client’s lawful, proper and competent instructions.
9.1 A solicitor must not disclose any information which is confidential to a client and acquired by the solicitor during the client’s engagement to any person who is not—9.1.1 a solicitor who is a partner, principal, director, or employee of the solicitor’s law practice, orEXCEPT as permitted in Rule 188.8.131.52.2 a barrister or an employee of, or person otherwise engaged by, the solicitor’s law practice or by an associated entity for the purposes of delivering or administering legal services in relation to the client,9.2 A solicitor may disclose information which is confidential to a client if—9.2.1 the client expressly or impliedly authorises disclosure,9.2.2 the solicitor is permitted or is compelled by law to disclose,9.2.3 the solicitor discloses the information in a confidential setting, for the sole purpose of obtaining advice in connection with the solicitor’s legal or ethical obligations,9.2.4 the solicitor discloses the information for the sole purpose of avoiding the probable commission of a serious criminal offence,9.2.5 the solicitor discloses the information for the purpose of preventing imminent serious physical harm to the client or to another person, or9.2.6 the information is disclosed to the insurer of the solicitor, law practice or associated entity.
10 Conflicts concerning former clients
10.1 A solicitor and law practice must avoid conflicts between the duties owed to current and former clients.10.2 A solicitor or law practice who or which is in possession of information which is confidential to a former client where that information might reasonably be concluded to be material to the matter of another client and detrimental to the interests of the former client if disclosed, must not act for the current client in that matter UNLESS—10.2.1 the former client has given informed consent to the disclosure and use of that information, or10.2.2 an effective information barrier has been established.rule 10: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .
11 Conflict of duties concerning current clients
11.1 A solicitor and a law practice must avoid conflicts between the duties owed to two or more current clients.11.2 Duty of loyalty If a solicitor or a law practice seeks to act for two or more clients in the same or related matters where the clients’ interests are adverse and there is a conflict or potential conflict of the duties to act in the best interests of each client, the solicitor or law practice must not act, except where permitted by Rules 11.3 and 184.108.40.206 Where a solicitor or law practice seeks to act in the circumstances specified in Rule 11.2, the solicitor or law practice may, subject always to each solicitor discharging their duty to act in the best interests of their client, only act if each client—11.3.1 is aware that the solicitor or law practice is also acting for another client, and11.3.2 has given informed consent to the solicitor or law practice so acting.11.4 Duty of confidentiality In addition to Rule 11.3, where a solicitor or a law practice acts for two or more clients in the same or related matters and the solicitor or law practice is in, or comes into, possession of information which is confidential to one client (the first client) which might reasonably be concluded to be material to the other client’s or clients’ matter and detrimental to the interests of the first client if disclosed, the solicitor and the solicitor’s law practice may not act or continue to act for the other client or clients unless each client’s informed consent—11.4.1 permits the disclosure and use of that information for the benefit of the other client or clients, or11.4.2 requires the establishment and maintenance at all times of an effective information barrier to protect the confidential information of each client.11.5 Actual conflict arising between current clients in the course of a matter If a solicitor or a law practice acts for more than one client in a matter and, during the course of the conduct of that matter, an actual conflict arises between the duties owed to two or more of those clients, the solicitor or law practice may only continue to act for one of those clients (or for two or more of those clients between whom there is no conflict) in the following exceptional circumstances—11.5.1 any client for whom the solicitor or law practice ceases to act has given informed consent to the solicitor or law practice continuing to act for the remaining clients, and11.5.2 the duty of confidentiality owed to all of the clients, both those for whom the solicitor or law practice ceases to act and those for whom the solicitor or law practice continues to act, is not put at risk.rule 11: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
11A Short-term legal assistance services
11A.1 If a solicitor providing short-term legal assistance services forms a reasonable belief that the solicitor cannot screen for conflicts of interest due to circumstances where it is not reasonably practicable as the time required to do so may result in a real risk of the client being denied access to legal assistance, the solicitor must ensure, to the extent reasonably practicable, that—11A.1.1 the solicitor has disclosed the nature of the services to the client, and11A.1.2 there is no actual or potential conflict between the duties owed to the client and one or more other clients, and11A.1.3 the client has given informed consent to the provision of the services.11A.2 A solicitor must not provide, or continue to provide, short-term legal assistance services to a client if the solicitor—11A.2.1 is or becomes aware that the interests of the client are adverse to the interests of a current client of the solicitor or the solicitor’s law practice, or11A.2.2 is aware that the solicitor has, or while providing the short-term legal assistance services obtains, confidential information of a current or former client that might reasonably be concluded to be—11A.2.2.1 material to the client’s matter, and11A.2.2.2 detrimental to the current or former client, if disclosed.11A.3 A solicitor who is a partner, associate, employee, officer or employer in a law practice through which another solicitor is providing short-term legal assistance services, may act for another client of the law practice whose interests are adverse to the interests of the client receiving the services if—11A.3.1 each client has given informed consent, and11A.3.2 measures are in place to ensure confidential information will not be disclosed.11A.4 In this Rule—short-term legal assistance services means services offered by a solicitor to a client, whether through a legal assistance service provider or on a pro bono basis, with the expectation by the solicitor and the client that the solicitor will not provide continuing legal advice or representation in the matter.rule 11A: Ins 2022 (34), Sch 1.
12 Conflict concerning a solicitor’s own interests
12.1 A solicitor must not act for a client where there is a conflict between the duty to serve the best interests of a client and the interests of the solicitor or an associate of the solicitor, except as permitted by this Rule.12.2 A solicitor must not do anything—(i) calculated to dispose a client or third party to confer on the solicitor, either directly or indirectly, any benefit in excess of the solicitor’s fair and reasonable remuneration for legal services provided to the client, or(ii) that the solicitor knows, or ought reasonably to anticipate, is likely to induce the client or third party to confer such a benefit and is not reasonably incidental to the performance of the retainer.12.3 A solicitor must not borrow any money, nor assist an associate to borrow money, from—12.3.1 a client of the solicitor or of the solicitor’s law practice, orUNLESS the client is—12.3.2 a former client of the solicitor or of the solicitor’s law practice who has indicated a continuing reliance upon the advice of the solicitor or of the solicitor’s law practice in relation to the investment of money,(i) an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution,(ii) a trustee company,(iii) the responsible entity of a managed investment scheme registered under Chapter 5C of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) or a custodian for such a scheme,(iv) an associate of the solicitor and the solicitor is able to discharge the onus of proving that a full written disclosure was made to the client and that the client’s interests are protected in the circumstances, whether by legal representation or otherwise, or(v) the employer of the solicitor.12.4 A solicitor will not have breached this Rule merely by—12.4.1 drawing a Will appointing the solicitor or an associate of the solicitor as executor, provided the solicitor informs the client in writing before the Will is signed—(i) of any entitlement of the solicitor, or the solicitor’s law practice or associate, to claim executor’s commission,(ii) of the inclusion in the Will of any provision entitling the solicitor, or the solicitor’s law practice or associate, to charge legal costs in relation to the administration of the estate, and(iii) if the solicitor or the solicitor’s law practice or associate has an entitlement to claim commission, that the client could appoint as executor a person who might make no claim for executor’s commission,12.4.2 drawing a Will or other instrument under which the solicitor (or the solicitor’s law practice or associate) will or may receive a substantial benefit other than any proper entitlement to executor’s commission and proper fees, provided the person instructing the solicitor is either—(i) a member of the solicitor’s immediate family,(ia) a member of the immediate family of the solicitor’s spouse, or(ii) a solicitor, or a member of the immediate family of a solicitor, who is a partner, employer, or employee, of the solicitor,12.4.3 receiving a financial benefit from a third party in relation to any dealing where the solicitor represents a client, or from another service provider to whom a client has been referred by the solicitor, provided the solicitor advises the client—(i) that a commission or benefit is or may be payable to the solicitor in respect of the dealing or referral and the nature of that commission or benefit,the client has given informed consent to the commission or benefit received or which may be received,(ii) that the client may refuse any referral, and12.4.4 acting for a client in any dealing in which a financial benefit may be payable to a third party for referring the client, provided the solicitor has first disclosed the payment or financial benefit to the client.rule 12: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
13 Completion or termination of engagement
13.1 A solicitor with designated responsibility for a client’s matter must ensure completion of the legal services for that matter UNLESS—13.1.1 the client has otherwise agreed,13.1.2 the law practice is discharged from the engagement by the client,13.1.3 the law practice terminates the engagement for just cause and on reasonable notice, or13.1.4 the engagement comes to an end by operation of law.13.2 Where a client is required to stand trial for a serious criminal offence, the client’s failure to make satisfactory arrangements for the payment of costs will not normally justify termination of the engagement UNLESS the solicitor or law practice has—13.2.1 served written notice on the client of the solicitor’s intention, a reasonable time before the date appointed for commencement of the trial or the commencement of the sittings of the court in which the trial is listed, providing the client at least 7 days to make satisfactory arrangements for payment of the solicitor’s costs, and13.2.2 given appropriate notice to the registrar of the court in which the trial is listed to commence.13.3 Where a client is legally assisted and the grant of aid is withdrawn or otherwise terminated, a solicitor or law practice may terminate the engagement by giving reasonable notice in writing to the client, such that the client has a reasonable opportunity to make other satisfactory arrangements for payment of costs which would be incurred if the engagement continued.
14 Client documents
14.1 A solicitor with designated responsibility for a client’s matter, must ensure that, upon completion or termination of the law practice’s engagement—14.1.1 the client or former client, oris given any client documents, (or if they are electronic documents copies of those documents), as soon as reasonably possible when requested to do so by the client, unless there is an effective lien.14.1.2 another person authorised by the client or former client,14.2 A solicitor or law practice may destroy client documents after a period of 7 years has elapsed since the completion or termination of the engagement, except where there are client instructions or legal obligations to the contrary.rule 14: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
15 Lien over documents
15.1 Notwithstanding Rule 14, when a solicitor claims to exercise a lien for unpaid legal costs over client documents which are essential to the client’s defence or prosecution of current proceedings—15.1.1 if another solicitor is acting for the client, the first solicitor must deliver up the documents to the second solicitor—(i) if the second solicitor undertakes to hold the documents subject to the lien and maintains reasonable security for the unpaid costs, or(ii) if the first solicitor agrees to the second solicitor agreeing to pay, or entering into an agreement with the client to procure payment of, the first solicitor’s costs upon completion of the relevant proceedings, or15.1.2 alternatively, the solicitor, upon receiving reasonable security for the unpaid costs, must deliver the documents to the client.rule 15: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
16 Charging for document storage
16.1 A solicitor must not charge—16.1.1 for the storage (either physical, electronic or otherwise) of documents, files or other property on behalf of clients or former clients of the solicitor or law practice (or predecessors in practice), orUNLESS the client or former client has consented to such charge being made.16.1.2 for retrieval from storage of those documents, files or other property,rule 16: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .
Advocacy and litigation
17 Independence—avoidance of personal bias
17.1 A solicitor representing a client in a matter that is before the court must not act as the mere mouthpiece of the client or of the instructing solicitor (if any) and must exercise the forensic judgments called for during the case independently, after the appropriate consideration of the client’s and the instructing solicitor’s instructions where applicable.17.2 A solicitor does not breach the solicitor’s duty to the client, and will not have failed to give appropriate consideration to the client’s or the instructing solicitor’s instructions, simply by choosing, contrary to those instructions, to exercise the forensic judgments called for during the case so as to—17.2.1 confine any hearing to those issues which the solicitor believes to be the real issues,17.2.2 present the client’s case as quickly and simply as may be consistent with its robust advancement, or17.2.3 inform the court of any persuasive authority against the client’s case.17.3 A solicitor must not make submissions or express views to a court on any material evidence or issue in the case in terms which convey or appear to convey the solicitor’s personal opinion on the merits of that evidence or issue.17.4 A solicitor must not become the surety for the client’s bail.rule 17: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
18 Formality before the court
18.1 A solicitor must not, in the presence of any of the parties or solicitors, deal with a court on terms of informal personal familiarity which may reasonably give the appearance that the solicitor has special favour with the court.
19 Duty to the court
19.1 A solicitor must not deceive or knowingly or recklessly mislead the court.19.2 A solicitor must take all necessary steps to correct any misleading statement made by the solicitor to a court as soon as possible after the solicitor becomes aware that the statement was misleading.19.3 A solicitor will not have made a misleading statement to a court simply by failing to correct an error in a statement made to the court by the opponent or any other person.19.4 A solicitor seeking any interlocutory relief in an ex parte application must disclose to the court all factual or legal matters which—19.4.1 are within the solicitor’s knowledge,19.4.2 are not protected by legal professional privilege, and19.4.3 the solicitor has reasonable grounds to believe would support an argument against granting the relief or limiting its terms adversely to the client.19.5 A solicitor who has knowledge of matters which are within Rule 19.4—19.5.1 must seek instructions for the waiver of legal professional privilege, if the matters are protected by that privilege, so as to permit the solicitor to disclose those matters under Rule 19.4, and19.5.2 if the client does not waive the privilege as sought by the solicitor—(i) must inform the client of the client’s responsibility to authorise such disclosure and the possible consequences of not doing so, and(ii) must inform the court that the solicitor cannot assure the court that all matters which should be disclosed have been disclosed to the court.19.6 A solicitor must, at the appropriate time in the hearing of the case if the court has not yet been informed of that matter, inform the court of—19.6.1 any binding authority,19.6.2 where there is no binding authority, any authority decided by an Australian appellate court, andknown to the solicitor and which the solicitor has reasonable grounds to believe to be directly in point, against the client’s case.19.6.3 any applicable legislation,19.7 A solicitor need not inform the court of matters within Rule 19.6 at a time when the opponent tells the court that the opponent’s whole case will be withdrawn or the opponent will consent to final judgment in favour of the client, unless the appropriate time for the solicitor to have informed the court of such matters in the ordinary course has already arrived or passed.19.8 A solicitor who becomes aware of matters within Rule 19.6 after judgment or decision has been reserved and while it remains pending, whether the authority or legislation came into existence before or after argument, must inform the court of that matter by—19.8.1 a letter to the court, copied to the opponent, and limited to the relevant reference unless the opponent has consented beforehand to further material in the letter, or19.8.2 requesting the court to relist the case for further argument on a convenient date, after first notifying the opponent of the intended request and consulting the opponent as to the convenient date for further argument.19.9 A solicitor need not inform the court of any matter otherwise within Rule 19.8 which would have rendered admissible any evidence tendered by the prosecution which the court has ruled inadmissible without calling on the defence.19.10 A solicitor who knows or suspects that the prosecution is unaware of the client’s previous conviction must not ask a prosecution witness whether there are previous convictions, in the hope of a negative answer.19.11 A solicitor must inform the court of any misapprehension by the court as to the effect of an order which the court is making, as soon as the solicitor becomes aware of the misapprehension.19.12 A solicitor must alert the opponent and if necessary inform the court if any express concession made in the course of a trial in civil proceedings by the opponent about evidence, case-law or legislation is to the knowledge of the solicitor contrary to the true position and is believed by the solicitor to have been made by mistake.rule 19: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
20 Delinquent or guilty clients
20.1 A solicitor who, as a result of information provided by the client or a witness called on behalf of the client, learns during a hearing or after judgment or the decision is reserved and while it remains pending, that the client or a witness called on behalf of the client—20.1.1 has lied in a material particular to the court or has procured another person to lie to the court,20.1.2 has falsified or procured another person to falsify in any way a document which has been tendered, ormust—20.1.3 has suppressed or procured another person to suppress material evidence upon a topic where there was a positive duty to make disclosure to the court,20.1.4 (Repealed)20.1.5 refuse to take any further part in the case unless the client authorises the solicitor to inform the court of the lie, falsification or suppression and must promptly inform the court of the lie, falsification or suppression upon the client authorising the solicitor to do so but otherwise may not inform the court of the lie, falsification or suppression.20.2 A solicitor whose client in criminal proceedings confesses guilt to the solicitor but maintains a plea of not guilty—20.2.1 may, subject to the client accepting the constraints set out in Rules 20.2.2–20.2.8, but not otherwise, continue to act in the client’s defence,20.2.2 must not falsely suggest that some other person committed the offence charged,20.2.3 must not set up an affirmative case inconsistent with the confession,20.2.4 must ensure that the prosecution is put to proof on its case,20.2.5 may argue that the evidence as a whole does not prove that the client is guilty of the offence charged,20.2.6 may argue that for some reason of law the client is not guilty of the offence charged,20.2.7 may argue that for another reason not prohibited by Rule 20.2.2 or 20.2.3 the client should not be convicted of the offence charged, and20.2.8 must not continue to act if the client insists on giving evidence denying guilt or requires the making of a statement asserting the client’s innocence.20.3 A solicitor whose client informs the solicitor that the client intends to disobey a court’s order must—20.3.1 advise the client against that course and warn the client of its dangers,20.3.2 not advise the client how to carry out or conceal that course, and20.3.3 not inform the court or the opponent of the client’s intention unless—(i) the client has authorised the solicitor to do so beforehand, or(ii) the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that the client’s conduct constitutes a threat to any person’s safety.rule 20: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .
21 Responsible use of court process and privilege
21.1 A solicitor must take care to ensure that the solicitor’s advice to invoke the coercive powers of a court—21.1.1 is reasonably justified by the material then available to the solicitor,21.1.2 is appropriate for the robust advancement of the client’s case on its merits,21.1.3 is not given principally in order to harass or embarrass a person, and21.1.4 is not given principally in order to gain some collateral advantage for the client or the solicitor or a third party out of court.21.2 A solicitor must take care to ensure that decisions by the solicitor to make allegations or suggestions under privilege against any person—21.2.1 are reasonably justified by the material then available to the solicitor,21.2.2 are appropriate for the robust advancement of the client’s case on its merits, and21.2.3 are not made principally in order to harass or embarrass a person.21.3 A solicitor must not allege any matter of fact in—21.3.1 any court document settled by the solicitor,21.3.2 any submission during any hearing,21.3.3 the course of an opening address, orunless the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that the factual material already available provides a proper basis to do so.21.3.4 the course of a closing address or submission on the evidence,21.4 A solicitor must not allege any matter of fact amounting to criminality, fraud or other serious misconduct against any person unless the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that—21.4.1 available material by which the allegation could be supported provides a proper basis for it, and21.4.2 the client wishes the allegation to be made, after having been advised of the seriousness of the allegation and of the possible consequences for the client and the case if it is not made out.21.5 A solicitor must not make a suggestion in cross-examination on credit unless the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that acceptance of the suggestion would diminish the credibility of the evidence of the witness.21.6 A solicitor may regard the opinion of an instructing solicitor that material which is available to the instructing solicitor is credible, being material which appears to the solicitor from its nature to support an allegation to which Rules 21.3 and 21.4 apply, as a reasonable ground for holding the belief required by those Rules (except in the case of a closing address or submission on the evidence).21.7 A solicitor who has instructions which justify submissions for the client in mitigation of the client’s criminality which involve allegations of serious misconduct against any other person not able to answer the allegations in the case must seek to avoid disclosing the other person’s identity directly or indirectly unless the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that such disclosure is necessary for the proper conduct of the client’s case.21.8 Without limiting the generality of Rule 21.2, in proceedings in which an allegation of domestic or family violence, sexual assault, indecent assault or the commission of an act of indecency is made and in which the alleged victim gives evidence—21.8.1 a solicitor must not ask that witness a question or pursue a line of questioning of that witness which is intended—(i) to mislead or confuse the witness, or(ii) to be unduly annoying, harassing, intimidating, offensive, oppressive, humiliating or repetitive, and21.8.2 a solicitor must take into account any particular vulnerability of the witness in the manner and tone of the questions that the solicitor asks.21.9 A solicitor does not infringe Rule 21.8 merely because—21.9.1 the question or questioning challenges the truthfulness of the witness or the consistency or accuracy of a statement made by the witness, or21.9.2 the question or questioning requires the witness to give evidence that the witness could consider to be offensive, distasteful or private.rule 21: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
22 Communication with opponents
22.1 A solicitor must not knowingly make a false or misleading statement to an opponent in relation to the case (including its compromise).22.2 A solicitor must take all necessary steps to correct any false or misleading statement made by the solicitor to an opponent as soon as possible after the solicitor becomes aware that the statement was false or misleading.22.3 A solicitor will not have made a false or misleading statement to the opponent simply by failing to correct an error on any matter stated to the solicitor by the opponent.22.4 A solicitor must not confer or deal with any party represented by or to the knowledge of the solicitor indemnified by an insurer, unless the party and the insurer have signified willingness to that course.22.5 A solicitor must not, outside an ex parte application or a hearing of which an opponent has had proper notice, communicate in the opponent’s absence with the court concerning any matter of substance in connection with current proceedings unless—22.5.1 the court has first communicated with the solicitor in such a way as to require the solicitor to respond to the court, or22.5.2 the opponent has consented beforehand to the solicitor communicating with the court in a specific manner notified to the opponent by the solicitor.22.6 A solicitor must promptly tell the opponent what passes between the solicitor and a court in a communication referred to in Rule 220.127.116.11 A solicitor must not raise any matter with a court in connection with current proceedings on any occasion to which an opponent has consented under Rule 22.5.2 other than the matters specifically notified by the solicitor to the opponent when seeking the opponent’s consent.22.8 A solicitor must take steps to inform the opponent as soon as possible after the solicitor has reasonable grounds to believe that there will be an application on behalf of the client to adjourn any hearing, of that fact and the grounds of the application, and must try, with the opponent’s consent, to inform the court of that application promptly.rule 22: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
23 Opposition access to witnesses
23.1 A solicitor must not take any step to prevent or discourage a prospective witness or a witness from conferring with an opponent or being interviewed by or on behalf of any other person involved in the proceedings.23.2 A solicitor does not breach Rule 23.1 simply by—23.2.1 telling a prospective witness or a witness that he or she need not agree to confer or to be interviewed, or23.2.2 advising the prospective witness or the witness about relevant obligations of confidentiality.rule 23: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
24 Integrity of evidence—influencing evidence
24.1 A solicitor must not—24.1.1 advise or suggest to a witness that false or misleading evidence should be given nor condone another person doing so, or24.1.2 coach a witness by advising what answers the witness should give to questions which might be asked.24.2 A solicitor will not have breached Rules 24.1 by—24.2.1 expressing a general admonition to tell the truth,24.2.2 questioning and testing in conference the version of evidence to be given by a prospective witness, or24.2.3 drawing the witness’s attention to inconsistencies or other difficulties with the evidence, but the solicitor must not encourage the witness to give evidence different from the evidence which the witness believes to be true.
25 Integrity of evidence—two witnesses together
25.1 A solicitor must not confer with, or condone another solicitor conferring with, more than one lay witness (including a party or client) at the same time—25.1.1 about any issue which there are reasonable grounds for the solicitor to believe may be contentious at a hearing, andunless the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that special circumstances require such a conference.25.1.2 where such conferral could affect evidence to be given by any of those witnesses,25.2 A solicitor will not have breached Rule 25.1 by conferring with, or condoning another solicitor conferring with, more than one client about undertakings to a court, admissions or concessions of fact, amendments of pleadings or compromise.
26 Communication with witnesses under cross-examination
26.1 A solicitor must not confer with any witness (including a party or client) called by the solicitor on any matter related to the proceedings while that witness remains under cross-examination, unless—26.1.1 the cross-examiner has consented beforehand to the solicitor doing so, or26.1.2 the solicitor—(i) believes on reasonable grounds that special circumstances (including the need for instructions on a proposed compromise) require such a conference,(ii) has, if possible, informed the cross-examiner beforehand of the solicitor’s intention to do so, and(iii) otherwise does inform the cross-examiner as soon as possible of the solicitor having done so.
27 Solicitor as material witness in client’s case
27.1 In a case in which it is known, or becomes apparent, that a solicitor will be required to give evidence material to the determination of contested issues before the court, the solicitor may not appear as advocate for the client in the hearing.27.2 In a case in which it is known, or becomes apparent, that a solicitor will be required to give evidence material to the determination of contested issues before the court the solicitor, an associate of the solicitor or a law practice of which the solicitor is a member must not continue to act for the client if doing so would prejudice the administration of justice.rule 27: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
28 Public comment during current proceedings
28.1 A solicitor must not publish or take steps towards the publication of any material concerning current proceedings which may prejudice a fair trial or the administration of justice.
29 Prosecutor’s duties
29.1 A prosecutor must fairly assist the court to arrive at the truth, must seek impartially to have the whole of the relevant evidence placed intelligibly before the court, and must seek to assist the court with adequate submissions of law to enable the law properly to be applied to the facts.29.2 A prosecutor must not press the prosecution’s case for a conviction beyond a full and firm presentation of that case.29.3 A prosecutor must not, by language or other conduct, seek to inflame or bias the court against the accused.29.4 A prosecutor must not argue any proposition of fact or law which the prosecutor does not believe on reasonable grounds to be capable of contributing to a finding of guilt and also to carry weight.29.5 A prosecutor must disclose to the opponent as soon as practicable all material (including the names of and means of finding prospective witnesses in connection with such material) available to the prosecutor or of which the prosecutor becomes aware which could constitute evidence relevant to the guilt or innocence of the accused other than material subject to statutory immunity, unless the prosecutor believes on reasonable grounds that such disclosure, or full disclosure, would seriously threaten the integrity of the administration of justice in those proceedings or the safety of any person.29.6 A prosecutor who has decided not to disclose material to the opponent under Rule 29.5 must consider whether—29.6.1 the charge against the accused to which such material is relevant should be withdrawn, or29.6.2 the accused should be faced only with a lesser charge to which such material would not be so relevant.29.7 A prosecutor must call as part of the prosecution’s case all witnesses—29.7.1 whose testimony is admissible and necessary for the presentation of all of the relevant circumstances,29.7.2 whose testimony provides reasonable grounds for the prosecutor to believe that it could provide admissible evidence relevant to any matter in issue,UNLESS(i) the opponent consents to the prosecutor not calling a particular witness,(ii) the only matter with respect to which the particular witness can give admissible evidence has been dealt with by an admission on behalf of the accused,(iii) the only matter with respect to which the particular witness can give admissible evidence goes to establishing a particular point already adequately established by another witness or other witnesses,(iv) the prosecutor believes on reasonable grounds that the testimony of a particular witness is plainly untruthful or is plainly unreliable, or(v) the prosecutor, having the responsibility of ensuring that the prosecution case is presented properly and presented with fairness to the accused, believes on reasonable grounds that the interests of justice would be harmed if the witness was called as part of the prosecution case,provided that the prosecutor must inform the opponent as soon as practicable of the identity of any witness whom the prosecutor intends not to call on any ground within (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) together with the grounds on which the prosecutor has reached that decision, unless the interests of justice would be harmed if those grounds were revealed to the opponent.29.8 A prosecutor who has reasonable grounds to believe that certain material available to the prosecution may have been unlawfully obtained must promptly—29.8.1 inform the opponent if the prosecutor intends to use the material, and29.8.2 make available to the opponent a copy of the material if it is in documentary form.29.9 A prosecutor must not confer with or interview any accused except in the presence of the accused’s legal representative.29.10 A prosecutor must not inform the court or an opponent that the prosecution has evidence supporting an aspect of its case unless the prosecutor believes on reasonable grounds that such evidence will be available from material already available to the prosecutor.29.11 A prosecutor who has informed the court of matters within Rule 29.10, and who has later learnt that such evidence will not be available, must immediately inform the opponent of that fact and must inform the court of it when next the case is before the court.29.12 A prosecutor—29.12.1 must correct any error made by the opponent in address on sentence,29.12.2 must inform the court of any relevant authority or legislation bearing on the appropriate sentence,29.12.3 must assist the court to avoid appealable error on the issue of sentence, and29.12.4 may submit that a custodial or non-custodial sentence is appropriate.29.13 A solicitor who appears as counsel assisting an inquisitorial body such as the Criminal Justice Commission, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the ACCC, a Royal Commission or other statutory tribunal or body having investigative powers must act in accordance with Rules 29.1, 29.3 and 29.4 as if the body is a court referred to in those Rules and any person whose conduct is in question before the body is an accused referred to in Rule 29.rule 29: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .
Relations with other persons
30 Another solicitor’s or other person’s error
30.1 A solicitor must not take unfair advantage of the obvious error of another solicitor or other person, if to do so would obtain for a client a benefit which has no supportable foundation in law or fact.
31 Inadvertent disclosure
31.1 Unless otherwise permitted or compelled by law, a solicitor to whom material known or reasonably suspected to be confidential is disclosed by another solicitor, or by some other person and who is aware that the disclosure was inadvertent must not use the material and must—31.1.1 return, destroy or delete the material (as appropriate) immediately upon becoming aware that disclosure was inadvertent, and31.1.2 notify the other solicitor or the other person of the disclosure and the steps taken to prevent inappropriate misuse of the material.31.2 A solicitor who reads part or all of the confidential material before becoming aware of its confidential status must—31.2.1 not disclose or use the material, unless otherwise permitted or compelled by law,31.2.2 notify the opposing solicitor or the other person immediately, and31.2.3 not read any more of the material.31.3 If a solicitor is instructed by a client to read confidential material received in error, the solicitor must refuse to do so.rule 31: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1.
32 Unfounded allegations
32.1 A solicitor must not make an allegation against another Australian legal practitioner of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct unless the allegation is made bona fide and the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that available material by which the allegation could be supported provides a proper basis for it.
33 Communication with another solicitor’s client
33.1 In representing a client, a solicitor shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another practitioner unless—33.1.1 the other practitioner has previously consented,33.1.2 the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that—(i) the circumstances are so urgent as to require the solicitor to do so, and(ii) the communication would not be unfair to the opponent’s client,33.1.3 the communication is solely to enquire whether the other party or parties to a matter are represented and, if so, by whom, or33.1.4 there is notice of the solicitor’s intention to communicate with the other party or parties, but the other practitioner has failed, after a reasonable time, to reply and there is a reasonable basis for proceeding with the communication.rule 33: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
34 Dealing with with other persons
34.1 A solicitor must not in any action or communication associated with representing a client—34.1.1 make any statement to another person—(i) which grossly exceeds the legitimate assertion of the rights or entitlements of the solicitor’s client, and(ii) which misleads or intimidates the other person,34.1.2 threaten the institution of a criminal or disciplinary complaint against the other person if a civil liability to the solicitor’s client is not satisfied, or34.1.3 use tactics that go beyond legitimate advocacy and which are primarily designed to embarrass or frustrate another person.34.2 In the conduct or promotion of a solicitor’s practice, the solicitor must not seek instructions for the provision of legal services in a manner likely to oppress or harass a person who, by reason of some recent trauma or injury, or other circumstances, is, or might reasonably be expected to be, at a significant disadvantage in dealing with the solicitor at the time when the instructions are sought.rule 34: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
35 Contracting with third parties
35.1 If a solicitor instructs a third party on behalf of the client, and the solicitor is not intending to accept personal liability for payment of the third party’s fees, the solicitor must advise the third party in advance.
Law practice management
36.1 A solicitor or principal of a law practice must ensure that any advertising, marketing, or promotion in connection with the solicitor or law practice is not—36.1.1 false,36.1.2 misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive,36.1.3 offensive, or36.1.4 prohibited by law.36.2 A solicitor must not convey a false, misleading or deceptive impression of specialist expertise and must not advertise or authorise advertising in a manner that uses the words “accredited specialist” or a derivative of those words (including post-nominals), unless the solicitor is a specialist accredited by the relevant professional association.
37 Supervision of legal services
37.1 A solicitor with designated responsibility for a matter must exercise reasonable supervision over solicitors and all other employees engaged in the provision of the legal services for that matter.
38 Returning judicial officers
38.1 A solicitor who is a former judicial officer must not appear in—(i) any court if the solicitor has been a member thereof or presided therein, orfor a period of two years after ceasing to hold that office unless permitted by the relevant court.(ii) any court from which appeals to any court of which the solicitor was formerly a member may be made or brought,rule 38: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1. Subst 2022 (159), rule 4.
39 Legal and non-legal services
39.1 Where a solicitor or law practice—39.1.1 shares an office with or is otherwise affiliated with an entity or business engaged in another calling to provide services other than legal services to a client, and39.1.2 a client is receiving services concurrently from both the law practice and the other entity,the solicitor or law practice, as the case requires, must take all reasonable steps to ensure the client is clearly informed about the nature and the terms of the services being provided to the client by the solicitor or law practice, including (if applicable) that the services provided by the other entity are not provided by the solicitor or law practice as legal services.rule 39: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .
40 Sharing receipts
40.1 A solicitor must not, in relation to the conduct of the solicitor’s practice, or the delivery of legal services, share, or enter into any arrangement for the sharing of, the receipts arising from, or in connection with, the provision of legal services by the solicitor, with—40.1.1 any disqualified person, or40.1.2 any person—(i) who has been found guilty of an indictable offence, or(ii) who has had a guilty plea accepted in relation to an indictable offence that involved dishonest conduct, whether or not a conviction was recorded.rule 40: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .
rule 41: Rep 2022 (34), Sch 1.
42 Anti-discrimination and harassment
42.1 A solicitor must not in the course of, or in connection with, legal practice or their profession, engage in conduct which constitutes—42.1.1 discrimination,42.1.2 sexual harassment,42.1.3 any other form of harassment, or42.1.4 workplace bullying.rule 42: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
43 Dealing with the regulatory authority
43.1 Subject only to his or her duty to the client, a solicitor must be timely, open and frank in his or her dealings with a regulatory authority.43.2 (Repealed)rule 43: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1 .Glossary of terms: Am 2022 (34), Sch 1–.
Glossary of termsFor the purposes of these Rules, the following definitions also apply in addition to the definitions in section 6 of the Uniform Law.
associate in reference to a solicitor means—
(a) a principal of the solicitor’s law practice,
(b) a partner, employee, or agent of the solicitor or of the solicitor’s law practice,
(c) a corporation or partnership in which the solicitor has a material beneficial interest,
(d) in the case of the solicitor’s incorporated legal practice, a director, officer, employee or agent of the incorporated legal practice or of a subsidiary of the incorporated legal practice,
(e) a member of the solicitor’s immediate family, or
(f) a member of the immediate family of a partner of the solicitor’s law practice or of the immediate family of a director of the solicitor’s incorporated legal practice or a subsidiary of the incorporated legal practice.
associated entity means an entity that is not part of the law practice but which provides legal or administrative services to a law practice, including but not limited to—
(a) a service trust or company, or
(b) a partnerships of law practices operating under the same trading name or a name which includes all or part of the trading name of the law practice.
Australian roll means a roll of practitioners maintained by the Supreme Court or under the legal profession legislation of any Australian jurisdiction.
(a) the court proceedings for which the solicitor is engaged, or
(b) the dispute in which the solicitor is advising.
client with respect to the solicitor or the solicitor’s law practice means a person (not an instructing solicitor) for whom the solicitor is engaged to provide legal services for a matter.
client documents means a document of a client.
community legal service means an organisation or body that is a community legal service, a community legal centre, or a complying community legal centre for the purposes of the legal profession legislation of a jurisdiction.
compromise includes any form of settlement of a case, whether pursuant to a formal offer under the rules or procedure of a court, or otherwise.
corporate solicitor means an Australian legal practitioner who engages in legal practice only in the capacity of an in-house lawyer for his or her employer or a related entity.
costs includes disbursements.
(a) any body described as such,
(b) any tribunal exercising judicial, or quasi-judicial, functions,
(c) a professional disciplinary tribunal,
(d) an industrial tribunal,
(e) an administrative tribunal,
(f) an investigation or inquiry established or conducted under statute or by a Parliament,
(g) a Royal Commission,
(h) an arbitration or mediation or any other form of dispute resolution.
current proceedings means proceedings which have not been determined, including proceedings in which there is still the real possibility of an appeal or other challenge to a decision being filed, heard or decided.
discrimination means discrimination that is unlawful under the applicable state, territory or federal anti- discrimination or human rights legislation.
disqualified person means any of the following persons whether the thing that has happened to the person happened before or after the commencement of this definition—
(a) a person whose name has (whether or not at his or her own request) been removed from an Australian roll and who has not subsequently been admitted or re-admitted to the legal profession under legal profession legislation or a corresponding law,
(b) a person whose Australian practising certificate has been suspended or cancelled under legal profession legislation or a corresponding law and who, because of the cancellation, is not an Australian legal practitioner or in relation to whom that suspension has not finished,
(c) a person who has been refused a renewal of an Australian practising certificate under legal profession legislation or a corresponding law, and to whom an Australian practising certificate has not been granted at a later time,
(d) a person who is the subject of an order under legal professional legislation or a corresponding law prohibiting a law practice from employing or paying the person in connection with the relevant practice,
(e) a person who is the subject of an order under legal profession legislation or a corresponding law prohibiting an Australian legal practitioner from being a partner of the person in a business that includes the solicitor’s practice, or
(f) a person who is the subject of any order under legal profession legislation or corresponding law, disqualifying them from managing an incorporated legal practice or from engaging in partnerships with certain partners who are not Australian legal practitioners.
document means any record of information, and includes—
(a) anything on which there is writing, and
(b) anything on which there are marks, figures, symbols or perforations having a meaning for the persons qualified to interpret them, and
(c) anything from which sounds, images or writings can be reproduced with or without the aid of anything else, and
and a reference to a document includes a reference to—
(d) a map, plan, drawing or photograph,
(e) any part of the document, and
(f) any copy, reproduction or duplicate of the document or any part of the document, and
(g) any part of such a copy, reproduction or duplicate.
engagement means the appointment of a solicitor or of a solicitor’s law practice to provide legal services for a matter.
employee means a person who is employed or under a contract of service or contract for services in or by an entity whether or not—
(a) the person works full-time, part-time, or on a temporary or casual basis, or
(b) the person is a law clerk or articled clerk.
employer in relation to a corporate solicitor means a person or body (not being another solicitor or a law practice) who or which employs the solicitor whether or not the person or body pays or contributes to the solicitor’s salary.
former client for the purposes of Rule 10.1, may include a person or entity that has previously instructed—
(a) the solicitor,
(b) the solicitor’s current law practice,
(c) the solicitor’s former law practice, while the solicitor was at the former law practice,
or, has provided confidential information to a solicitor, notwithstanding that the solicitor was not formally retained and did not render an account.
(d) the former law practice of a partner, co-director or employee of the solicitor, while the partner, co-director or employee was at the former law practice,
harassment means harassment that is unlawful under the applicable state, territory or federal anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.
immediate family means the spouse (which expression may include a de facto spouse or partner of the same sex), or a child, grandchild, sibling, parent or grandparent of a solicitor.
instructing solicitor means a solicitor or law practice who engages another solicitor to provide legal services for a client for a matter.
insurance company includes any entity, whether statutory or otherwise, which indemnifies persons against civil claims.
law practice means—
(a) an Australian legal practitioner who is a sole solicitor,
(b) a partnership of which the solicitor is a partner,
(c) a multi-disciplinary partnership,
(d) a community legal service,
(e) an unincorporated legal practice, or
(f) an incorporated legal practice.
legal costs means amounts that a person has been or may be charged by, or is or may become liable to pay to, a law practice for the provision of legal services including disbursements but not including interest.
legal profession legislation means a law of a State or Territory that regulates legal practice and the provision of legal services.
matter means any legal service the subject of an engagement or required to be provided by the solicitor or the solicitor’s law practice to fulfil an engagement and includes services provided for—
(a) a case,
(b) a dealing between parties that may affect, create or be related to a right, entitlement or interest in property of any kind, or
(c) advice on the law.
multi-disciplinary partnership means—
but does not include—
(a) a partnership between one or more solicitors and one or more other persons who are not solicitors, where the business of the partnership includes the provision of legal services in this jurisdiction as well as other services,
(b) a partnership consisting only of one or more solicitors and one or more Australian-registered foreign lawyers.
office is not limited to physical business premises and includes the media through which a law practice provides legal services to clients away from a central, physical location.
(a) the practitioner appearing for a party opposed to the client of the solicitor in question, or
(b) that party, if the party is unrepresented.
order includes a judgment, decision or determination.
party includes each one of the persons or corporations who or which is jointly a party to any matter.
practitioner means a person or law practice entitled to practise the profession of law.
prosecutor means a solicitor who appears for the complainant or Crown in criminal proceedings.
means an entity identified in legal profession legislation which has responsibility for regulating the activities of solicitors in that jurisdiction.
serious criminal offence means an offence that is—
(a) an indictable offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory (whether or not the offence is or may be dealt with summarily),
(b) an offence against a law of a foreign country that would be an indictable offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory if committed in Australia (whether or not the offence could be dealt with summarily if committed in Australia).
sexual harassment means an unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours, or otherwise engaging in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature to the person harassed in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
(a) an Australian legal practitioner whose Australian practising certificate is not subject to a condition that the holder is authorised to engage in legal practice as or in the manner of a barrister only, or
(b) an Australian registered foreign lawyer who practises as or in the manner of a solicitor.
solicitor with designated responsibility means the solicitor ultimately responsible for a client’s matter or the solicitor responsible for supervising the solicitor that has carriage of a client’s matter.
substantial benefit means a benefit which has a substantial value relative to the financial resources and assets of the person intending to bestow the benefit.
trustee company is as defined in relevant jurisdictional legislation: the Trustee Companies Act 1964 (NSW), the Trustee Companies Act 1968 (QLD), the Trustee Companies Act 1984 (VIC), the Trustee Companies Act 1988 (SA), the Trustee Companies Act 1953 (TAS), the Trustee Companies Act 1987 (WA) and the Trustee Companies Act 1947 (ACT).
workplace bullying means bullying that is unlawful under the applicable state or territory anti discrimination or human rights legislation or constitutes bullying at work under Commonwealth legislation. If no such legislative definition exists, it is conduct within the definition relied upon by the Australian Human Rights Commission to mean workplace bullying. In general terms it includes the repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice. It includes behaviour that could be expected to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate.