Practice Management

The Office of the NSW Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) working collaboratively with the Law Society of NSW, LawCover and the College of Law, has identified a set of 10 objectives covering the areas that are considered to be fundamental to ensure compliance with the Uniform Law, the Uniform Rules and other professional obligations.

The objectives include:

  1. Negligence - (providing for competent work practices)
  2. Communication (providing for effective, timely and courteous communication)
  3. Delay  (providing for timely review, delivery and follow up of legal services)
  4. Liens/file transfers (providing for timely resolution of document/file transfers)
  5. Cost disclosure/billing practices/termination of retainer (providing for shared understanding and appropriate documentation on commencement and termination of retainer as well as appropriate billing practices during the retainer)
  6. Conflict of interests (providing for timely identification and resolution of conflict of interests, including when acting for both parties or acting against previous clients as well as potential conflicts which may arise in relationships with debt collectors and mercantile agencies, or conducting another business, referral fees and commissions etc)
  7. Records management (minimising the likelihood of loss or destruction of correspondence and documents through appropriate document retention, filing, archiving etc and providing for compliance with requirements regarding registers of files, safe custody, financial interests)
  8. Undertakings (providing for undertakings to be given, monitoring of compliance and timely compliance with notices, orders, rulings, directions or other requirements of regulatory authorities such as the OLSC, courts, costs assessors)
  9. Supervision of practice and staff (providing for compliance with statutory obligations covering licence and practising certificate conditions, employment of persons and providing for proper quality assurance of work outputs and performance of legal, paralegal and non-legal staff involved in the delivery of legal services)
  10. Trust account requirements (providing for compliance with Part 4 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law and proper accounting procedures

The objectives listed above form a framework for identifying whether there are reasonable grounds to conduct a compliance audit of a law practice.

Compliance Audits

Where a specific complaint or series of complaints raise concerns about the conduct of a law practice or its employees and those concerns relate to compliance with the Uniform Law or the Uniform Rules, a compliance audit may take place.

Our compliance audit page has more information about compliance audits.

At the conclusion of the audit process an audit report will be prepared with recommendations.  On occasion, management system directions may also be made.

Management  System Directions

Where the NSW Legal Services Commissioner considers it reasonable to do so, they may issue a management system direction requiring the implementation and maintenance of appropriate management systems to enable the provision of legal services in accordance with the Uniform Law and Uniform Rules.  For example, a management system direction may require a law practice to develop an efficient system to provide regular updates regarding costs disclosure or to provide accurate itemised bills at the client's request.  Another example may be a direction to a law practice to develop a system to supervise employees who are engaged in delivering legal services.

A law practice must comply with a management system direction and may be required to report regularly to the NSW Legal Services Commissioner on its ongoing maintenance.

Last updated:

04 Dec 2023

Was this content useful?
We will use your rating to help improve the site.
Please don't include personal or financial information here
Please don't include personal or financial information here

We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the ongoing connection Aboriginal people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal people as the original custodians of this land.

Top Return to top of page Top