This submission examines PIAC’s concerns about section 17 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW) (LPA), which prohibits legal practices from employing or having as an “associate” anyone who has been convicted of a serious criminal offence or who has been disqualified from practising as a solicitor, unless the person has been approved by a relevant authority. PIAC opposes discrimination on the basis of prior criminal record on principle, believing that our system should be focused on the rehabilitation of offenders and that once a person has ‘done their time’, their criminal history should be irrelevant to their employment rights. PIAC is also concerned that section 17 of the LPA imposes a significant burden on individuals and legal practices to go through what could be a lengthy and public hearing process to obtain relevant approvals.
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