Admission to the Legal Profession & Legal Education

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This article is a topic within the subject Law, Lawyers and Society.

Required Reading

Y. Ross & P. MacFarlane, Lawyers’ Responsibility and Accountability: Cases, Problems and Commentary, Fourth Edition (Butterworth’s, 2012), pp. .

Legal Profession Act 2004

  • [1] s 24 – Eligibility for admission: Must be at least 18 with necessary academic qualifications and legal training. Training need not be more than one year long. Admission Board must be satisfied
  • [2] s 25 – Suitability for admission: Must consider suitability matters ... ?

Gino Dal Pont, A lawyer who plagiarises invites disciplinary sanction, Law Society Journal, February 2011, pp. 40-41

  • [3] Plagiarism reflects the character of a potential lawyer – it reflects dishonesty
  • The Queensland Court of Appeal once refused admission to an applicant who plagiarised. The Victorian Supreme Court also revoked admission of people who plagiarised at university
  • It also affects people who have already been admitted and are currently serving as lawyers – a 1992 case involving a certain Dr Pickering and his academic papers saw his certification to practice law cancelled for 10 months
  • [4] Legal Services Commissioner v Keough (2010) – Professional misconduct found as a result of plagiarism in a postgrad course and academic article. Keough was suspended for six months

Problem in Ross & McFarlane

  • [5] Tom, a cop for over 18 years, has been controversial for using excessive force, alcohol-related violence (though never criminal), fabrication of evidence which led to demotion (although now reinstated and promoted even further) and allegations of drug dealing (however no charges ... yet) as well as writing a controversial article
  • Required considerations: Opinion does not and should not impede admission to legal practice. No criminal charges have been laid, although investigations which may lead to such are outstanding. Tom has a good reputation, however he would need to be cleared of all charges before admission

Regarding Bacon[6]

  • Wendy Bacon was an activist who applied for admission to the bar, however due to having been arrested and convicted for radical forms of political activism, her admission was rejected. Bacon appealed.
  • By one being of good fame and character, does that mean that there should be no other discretionary bar to admission?
  • Does one’s activities as a student affect their future credibility?
  • However there is conduct besides her name which is disreputable
Result: Bacon lost, but primarily because of her conduct in regards to her convictions


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Textbook refers to Y. Ross & P. MacFarlane, Lawyers’ Responsibility and Accountability: Cases, Problems and Commentary, Fourth Edition (Butterworth’s, 2012).

  1. Textbook, p. 4
  2. Textbook, p. 5
  3. Textbook, p. 6A
  4. Textbook, p. 6B
  5. Textbook, p. 5.17
  6. Textbook, p. 1981
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