Incorporated Legal Practices

The Legal Profession Act 2007

The Legal Profession Act 2007 (the Act) like its counterpart legislation in the other states and territories, allows law firms in Queensland a wider choice of business structures than the traditional sole practitioner and partnership arrangements. The Act allows law firms from 1 July 2007 to form multi-disciplinary partnerships (MDPs), or to form companies and to trade as incorporated legal practices (ILPs). The Act established a new framework for regulating theway ILPs and MDPs deliver legal services.

An Incorporated Legal Practice (an ILP) is a corporation (typically a company within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001) that provides legal services. The ILP may provide other services in addition to legal services.

The Legal Profession Act 2007 establishes the regulatory framework for the provision of legal services by an ILP at Chapter 2 Part 2.7 (sections 109-143).

Eligibility and Obligations

Any corporation is eligible to be an ILP unless it is prohibited by an Act under which it is incorporated or which regulates its affairs.

A corporation intending to engage in legal practice in Queensland must give written notice in the approved form to the Queensland Law Society (QLS) of its intention, before commencing legal practice in Queensland.

The Supreme Court of Queensland can make an order disqualifying a person from being an officer or employee of an ILP, or from being engaged or paid to provide legal services on behalf of an ILP.

An ILP must not conduct a managed investment scheme or any other business or service prohibited by regulation.

An  ILP must have at least one director who is a legal practitioner (a ‘legal practitioner director’) and, if it ceases to have a legal practitioner director, the ILP must ensure it remedies that fact within 7 days or it must cease to engage in legal practice.

The legal practitioner directors of an ILP and any other legal practitioners who provide legal services on behalf of an ILP have the same professional obligations as all other legal practitioners.

Additional Obligations

The legal practitioner directors of an ILP have additional obligations over and above their professional obligations as legal practitioners.

Compliance Audits

Section 130 of the Legal Profession Act 2007 empowers the Commissioner to conduct a ‘compliance audit’ of an Incorporated Legal Practice.

Please see the information on compliance audits