A law practice must not have a lay associate who is either:
- a disqualified person or
- been convicted of a serious offence
without the consent of the Queensland Law Society when that lay associate is to provide legal or related services to the law practice.
A lay associate is defined as follows (s26(7) Legal Profession Act 2007):
“lay associate, in relation to a law practice, includes a consultant to the law practice, however described—
(a) who is not an Australian legal practitioner; and
(b) who provides legal or related services to the law practice, other than services prescribed under a regulation.”
A lay associate includes agents or employees of a law practice who are not Australian Legal Practitioners.
A serious offence is an indictable offence, however determined.
The following are disqualified people for this requirement:
- a person whose name has been removed from an Australian roll and who has not subsequently been admitted or re-admitted to the legal profession
- a person whose Australian practising certificate has been suspended or cancelled and who, because of the cancellation or suspension, is not presently entitled to practise as a legal practitioner
- a person who has been refused a renewal of an Australian practising certificate, and to whom an Australian practising certificate has not been granted at a later time
- a person who is the subject of an order prohibiting a law practice from employing or paying the person in connection with a law practice
- a person who is the subject of an order prohibiting an Australian legal practitioner from being a partner of the person in a law practice
- a person who has been disqualified by the Supreme Court from managing an incorporated legal practice, or being a partner in a multi-disciplinary practice.
Applications to employ disqualified or convicted lay associates should made to Queensland Law Society for consideration prior to engagement.