Disclosure of Spent Convictions

The Spent Convictions (Act Amendment) Regulations 2014 were published in the Government Gazette on 6 March 2014.

The amendment provides that the Legal Practice Board and Legal Profession Complaints Committee are excepted from the provisions of section 22 and Part 3 Division 4 in respect of all spent convictions.

Effectively this means that Australian lawyers and applicants for the grant or renewal of a local practising certificate are required to disclose a spent conviction to the Legal Practice Board and that the conviction may be taken into account in considering whether the applicant is a fit and proper person.  Additionally, if practitioners are handed a spent conviction during the practising certificate year they are required to disclose this to the Board under the applicable provisions of sections, 8, 51, 61 or 62 of the Legal Profession Act 2008.

The above effect extends to persons applying to become an Australian-registered foreign lawyer and Australian-registered foreign lawyers (see sections 8, 179 and 180 of the Legal Profession Act 2008).