It has recently come to the attention of the Society that there has been an amendment to the Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 (Tas). The effect of that amendment being to remove the exemption for registration that applied to legal practitioners. That is, prior to the amendment, we did not need to be registered under that Act if we worked with vulnerable people, most relevantly, children. However it would now appear that we do need to be registered.
Obviously this is particularly of concern to those practitioners who practice as Separate Representatives and Independent Children’s Lawyers.
I have raised this with the Attorney General’s office and asked that they look to reinstating the exemption, or at least introducing an exemption for lawyers acting as Separate Representatives or ICLs pursuant to Court Orders.
However in the meantime I suggest that if you act as a Separate Representative or ICL, then you should consider whether you should register under the Act. In the absence of the exemption or registration, you may very well be committing an offence.
I will keep the profession updated on this matter once I have a response from the Attorney General’s office.