New laws deliver significant admin changes for firms

The passing of the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 this week has resulted in several changes to the Legal Profession Act 2007 (LPA).

The amendments introduced by Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath will increase the prescribed amount under section 311 of the LPA, which triggers cost disclosure obligations for legal practices from $1500 to $3000.

An abbreviated costs disclosure obligation will apply if the total legal costs in a matter, excluding disbursements and GST, are not likely to exceed $3000.  No costs disclosure obligations will apply if the total legal costs in a matter, excluding disbursements and GST, are not likely to exceed $1500.

The changes aim to reduce the regulatory burden for law practices, while promoting costs transparency for consumers of legal services.

The Act also seeks to clarify the meaning of client documents and allow for the destruction of client files by law practices and its application to the Queensland Law Society (QLS).  The amendments follow many years of advocacy from QLS including within the 2020 Call to Parties Statement. 

Both the cost disclosure changes and document destruction provisions start on a date to be proclaimed.


Law practices, QLS and community legal centres may, under the new section 713A of the LPA, destroy a client document relating to a matter if a period of at least seven years has elapsed since the completion of the matter; the law practice has been unable to obtain instructions from the client to destroy despite making reasonable efforts to do so; and it is reasonable under the circumstances, with regard to the nature and content of the document, to destroy it.  

The QLS Ethics and Practice Centre will issue a guidance note on client document retention to assist the profession.

The changes aim to address increasing risks to clients’ privacy and confidentiality resulting from the prolonged retention of client documents by law practices, QLS and community legal centres, along with the significant cost of securely storing large volumes of former client files and abandoned safe custody records, potentially, indefinitely.

The amendments also confirm that to be eligible for admission to the legal profession, applicants must have sufficient knowledge of written and spoken English to engage in legal practice.

A judicial member of QCAT will also be enabled to hear and determine matters under section 328 of the LP Act, which relates to applications for the setting aside of costs agreements that are not fair or reasonable.

QLS Vice President Rebecca Fogerty, Criminal Law Committee Chair Dominic Brunello, and General Manager Matt Dunn represented the Society at the public hearing into the Bill in Brisbane on 10 July.


Other reforms contained in the Bill included new laws allowing for people charged with rape and other prescribed sexual offences to be identified.

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