The Law Society of South Australia is one of a small number of professional organisations recognised by and given specific powers under an Act of Parliament.

The Functions and Powers of the Society pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 and Legal Practitioners Regulations 2014 are: -

  1. Reporting to the Commissioner in accordance with section 14AB(1).
  2. Responding to requests for information by the Commissioner in accordance with section 14AB(2).
  3. Participating in show cause matters pursuant to section 20AG and 20AH.
  4. Applications to amend, suspend, or cancel practising certificates in accordance with section 20AD.
  5. Applications pursuant to section 20AJ.
  6. Referring suspected breaches of sections 21, 22, 23, 23AA to the Attorney-General for investigation.
  7. Appointing Supervisors and Managers under sections 44 and 45.
  8. Exercising the powers and functions referred to in section 53(7), (9), (12), (13), and (14).
  9. In relation to matters arising under Part 5 (claims against Fidelity Fund):
    • 9.1.Receiving and determining claims against the Fidelity Fund in accordance with section 60.
    • 9.2.Exercising the power to require evidence referred to in section 62.
  10. Making directions to the Commissioner in accordance with section 77B(2)(a).
  11. Receiving reports from the Commissioner in accordance with section 77H(1).
  12. Furnishing information held by the Society in accordance with section 90AE.
  13. Functions and powers contained in Schedule 1 and any related regulations.
  14. Functions and powers contained in Schedule 2 and any related regulations.
  15. Functions and powers contained in Schedule 4 and any related regulations.
  16. Receiving notifications made in accordance with regulation 4.
  17. Applications in accordance with sections 49 and 50.
  18. Engaging in exchange of information with the LPCC in accordance with section 77A.
  19. Laying of charges by the Society in the Disciplinary Tribunal in accordance with section 82(2).
  20. Institution of disciplinary proceedings by the Society in the Supreme Court in accordance with section 89(1).
  21. Applications to the Supreme Court in accordance with section 89(6).
  22. Applying for interim orders in accordance with section 89A.
  23. Applications by the Society to strike the names of public notaries from the roll of public notaries in accordance with section 93.
  24. Agreements and arrangements with other regulatory authorities in accordance with section 95AA.

  25. The Functions and Powers Assigned to the Society by the Supreme Court (Chapter 17 Supreme Court Rules) are: -

  26. Issuing practising certificates in accordance with section 16.
  27. Requiring the furnishing of evidence in accordance with section 17(1).
  28. Imposing a prescribed fine in accordance with section 17(2).
  29. Issuing practising certificates with effect from dates prior to the issue of the practising certificate in accordance with section 17(3).
  30. Determining the period of practising certificates issued in accordance with section 18(1) and (2).
  31. Cancelling and re-issuing practising certificates in accordance with section 18(2a).
  32. Requiring and receiving evidence of insurance in accordance with section 19(1).
  33. Maintaining and permitting access to a register of practising certificates in accordance with section 20.
  34. Recording conditions on practising certificates, and revoking and re-issuing practising certificates, in accordance with section 20AA.
  35. Receiving and cancelling surrendered practising certificates in accordance with section 20AK.
  36. Receiving written notice of conditions or limitations on a practitioner’s interstate practising certificate in accordance with section 23B.
  37. Recording on practising certificates any condition imposed by a regulatory authority of this State in accordance with section 23C.
  38. Receiving notices from interstate practitioners establishing an office in South Australia in accordance with section 23D and any related regulations.
  39. Receiving the notices referred to in clauses 4, 5, and 7 of Schedule 1 and any related regulations.
  40. Producing, maintaining, and making available on the Society’s website the fact sheets referred to in Forms 1 and 2 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations.
  41. Requiring the provision of evidence, records or information pursuant to regulation 67.

  42. The Functions and powers relating to the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (‘MCPD’) Scheme are: -

  43. Receive and record MCPD compliance certificates.
  44. Make determinations in relation to defined circumstances and other matters referred to the in the LPEAC Rules.
  45. Audit MCPD compliance.
   

The formal objects of the Society are included in the Rules of the Society. They are: 

1.              to perform the duties and fulfil the functions provided for by the Act

2.              to preserve and uphold the integrity and independence of the legal profession, and the rule of law

3.              to represent the professional interests and views of members and of the legal profession in appropriate forums, in or before relevant bodies and groups, before Government and its agencies and in the media and the community

4.              to provide useful professional services, resources, support and benefits to members of the Society

5.              to provide opportunity for appropriate professional and social interaction between members

6.              to establish and maintain high standards of professional conduct and etiquette for adoption by the profession

7.              to provide a range of educational services to Members and to others including continuing legal education, practical legal training and other educational activities

8.              to undertake community education concerning the law and the legal profession and to undertake activities designed to improve access to justice and strengthen the community’s understanding of and confidence in the legal profession and the justice system

9.              to advocate strongly and publicly for the maintenance and protection of legal rights and freedoms, and the independent role of lawyers and the courts in the justice system

10.          to promote reforms of the law and its administration.

The above objects were agreed to by the Annual General Meeting of the Society held on 21 October 1993, on 30 September 1994, reaffirmed by the Executive on 5 June 2004, and amended (with the Rules of the Law Society) on 28 October 2013, 27 October 2014, 24 October 2015 and 4 November 2019.
The Law Society's principal mission is to represent its members and the legal profession in general.

The Society has a responsibility to interact with Government and Parliamentarians in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act, legal representation, parliamentary and other inquiries, legal fees and costs, and legislative development.

The interests of members will be served of through a balanced provision of activities which deliver educational development, information, maximisation of work opportunities, specific financial and other direct benefits, and through representation of member and profession interests in wide-ranging community activities. The health and well-being of members will be provided for through appropriate support programs.

The Society is enhanced by the full and effective involvement of its members irrespective of their background, race, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

The Society will promote the broad diversity of its membership on all governing and policy committees. 

The Society accepts its major statutory responsibilities which include a significant role in admission of practitioners, control of practising certificates, administration of an appropriate professional indemnity insurance scheme, responding to matters relating to professional conduct and standards, providing trust account supervision and the supervision or management of practices in difficulty or trouble, administration of the Fidelity Fund, and involvement in the disciplining of legal professionals.

The Society assumes a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, including the independence of the profession and the separation of powers, the fair administration of justice and equitable access to the justice system

It undertakes a substantial community service obligation through provision various services, including community education, and through public comment on legally-related items of public interest.

The principal mission of the Society is to serve the legal profession in South Australia by performing its duties and responsibilities as a public authority as set out in the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 representing its Members and preserving the integrity of the justice system. 

Council at its meeting on 3 July 2006 adopted the Statement of Core Principles of the legal profession "which sets out fundamental principles of a justice system governed by the Rule of Law", first publicised at a meeting of Australian Bar Association Presidents in France in November 2005.

The statement reads as follows:

The legal profession throughout the world, in the interests of the public, is committed to these core principles:
  1. An impartial, and independent, judiciary, without which there is no rule of law.
  2. An independent legal profession, without which there is no rule of law or freedom for the people.
  3. Access to justice for all people throughout the world, which is only possible with an independent legal profession and an impartial, and independent, judiciary.

Powers, Objects and Mission

The Law Society was established as a voluntary professional association for members of the legal profession in 1879.