Did you know that as of 1 April 2017 there are new Commonwealth Legal Services Directions?

Why are there new Directions?

The Legal Services Directions 2005 (2005 Directions) were due to sunset on 1 April 2016 under the sun-setting regime provided by the Legislation Act 2003 (Cth), however the Attorney-General deferred this date by 12 months to 1 April 2017.

The 2005 Directions have been replaced by the Legal Services Directions 2017 (2017 Directions), and are no longer in force.

What has changed?

The 2017 Directions contain minimal changes from the 2005 Directions. The Explanatory Memorandum to the 2017 Directions explains that the changes include:

  • updated references to entities, jurisdictions, and other organisations
  • updated references to documents and guidelines
  • updated references to websites
  • removal of typographical and stylistic inconsistencies.

New provisions include paragraph 12B, which triggers the operation of transitional arrangements, and Appendix G, which sets out those transitional arrangements.

Under Appendix G, a decision or instrument that was in force under a provision of the 2005 Directions will be treated as if it were a decision or instrument made under the equivalent provision of the 2017 Directions (paragraph 1). Similarly:

  • processes begun under the 2005 Directions but have not been completed will be treated as if they had been begun under the equivalent provision of the 2017 Directions (paragraph 2)
  • if action was required to be taken under the 2005 Directions but not yet started, the action is required to be taken under the equivalent provision of the 2017 Directions (paragraph 3)
  • a reference in an instrument or document to the 2005 Directions is to be treated as a reference to the 2017 Directions (paragraph 6).

The 2017 Directions can be accessed online on the Federal Register of Legislation by clicking here.

The 2017 Directions do not contain any changes of significance to the 2005 Directions, however when citing the Directions, reference should now be made to the 2017 version.