South Australian Legal Practitioners’ Conduct Rules 

South Australian Legal Practitioners’ Conduct Rules - current

The South Australian Legal Practitioners’ Conduct Rules were adopted by the Society’s Council as the Legal Profession Rules to apply in South Australia.  They took effect on 1 January 2022.

These Rules provide a comprehensive set of legal profession rules which bind all legal practitioners in South Australia including (for the sake of clarity) those who choose to practise exclusively as barristers.

Part A of these Rules constitutes the South Australian version of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules and apply to all South Australian legal practitioners to whom Part B does not apply.

Part A retains (for convenience of cross-referencing with the LCA Commentary and interstate versions of the ASCR) the numbering contained in the ASCR with the exception of the addition of the SA-specific Rule 16A. The Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules with LCA Commentary can be accessed via the LCA website. An expended Commentary is currently being developed by the LCA for the recently revised version of the ASCR. Please note that the LCA Commentary is not intended to be the sole source of information about the rules in Part A of the South Australian Legal Practitioners’ Conduct Rules. Please contact the Ethics and Practice Unit of the Society for advice on the application of the Rules to the variety of contexts encountered in legal practice.

Part B of these Rules constitutes conduct rules that apply only to all South Australian legal practitioners who either hold a Category BA practising certificate or have otherwise elected to practise exclusively as a barrister by qualifying for the barrister contribution under the South Australian Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme.

It must be noted that these Rules are not a complete code of conduct for legal practitioners.

It is important to understand the function and purpose of Legal Profession Rules. Firstly, they are not a complete and comprehensive statement of all of the ethical obligations that must be observed by legal practitioners. There are many common law and statutory ethical duties and obligations that legal practitioners must comply with that are not covered by the Rules. Other sources of professional obligations for legal practitioners include:

•             the common and general law;

•             statutory instruments such as the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 and Legal Practitioners Regulations 2014;

•             the Rules of the Legal Profession Education and Admission Council;

•             State and Federal Court Rules.

Secondly, the Rules are not laws. That is, a breach of the Rules alone does not result in any penalty or disciplinary action. It is only when a breach of the Rules forms the basis for a finding by the relevant body that the practitioner concerned has committed an act of unsatisfactory or unprofessional conduct that disciplinary action will result.

The Rules simply set a standard of behaviour or conduct that should be observed by practitioners in certain circumstances. They are an accepted measure for the use of practitioners so they can ensure that they act appropriately in the circumstances demonstrated in the Rules, and disciplinary bodies so they can have a baseline against which to compare conduct by a practitioner that fits within the circumstances provided for in the Rules.

Legal Profession Rules - a chronology, with past versions 

February 1997

Model Rules of Professional Conduct And Practice Promulgated By The Law Council Of Australia (LCA)

March 2002

Revised version of the Model Rules adopted by the LCA.


Review and amendment of the Model Rules by the Council of the Law Society of South Australia in light of local requirements.

March 2003

Adoption in South Australia of the Rules of Professional Conduct and Practice (PCR) incorporating the majority of the Model Rules plus a number of local Rules on issues that, unlike other jurisdictions, were not covered by ourLegal Practitioners Act(LPA).Law Society of SA Professional Conduct Rules 1 March 2003.

March 2009

Formation by the LCA of a National Conduct Rules Reference Group (NCR Group)to develop uniform national conduct rules.
The NCR Group considered submissions and representations made by various key stake holders, as well as international sources such as the England and Wales Solicitors’ Code of Conduct and the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

June 2011

Approval of the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules (Conduct Rules) by the LCA.

July 2011

Revocation of the PCR and adoption of the Conduct Rules by the Council of the Law Society of South Australia.Law Society of South Australian Solicitors' Conduct Rules 25 July 2011.

September 2011

Amendment of Conduct Rules by the Society's Council to insert PCR provisions on “Legal Assistance”, “Communicating with Clients on Costs” and “Contingency Fees” (previously rules 34, 41 and 42 of the PCR) as Rules 16A, 16B, and 16C. Unlike other jurisdictions, these matters were not covered by the South Australian LPA, and were therefore not included in the version of the Conduct Rules adopted by the LCA.Law Society of South Australia Australian Solicitors' Conduct Rules with amendment 12 September 2011.

1 July 2014

Upon the commencement of theLegal Practitioners (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2013, the Council revoked Local Rules 16B and 16C as their import was captured by the amendments to the LPA.Law Society of South Australia Australian Solicitors' Conduct Rules 1 July 2014.

1 June 2015

The Council approved a stylistic revision of the version of the Rules adopted 1 July 2014 – Law Society of South Australia Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2011 v 3 – I July 2015.