Bush Lawyers in New South Wales and Queensland: A Spatial Analysis

Kevin McDougall, Reid Mortensen

Abstract


This article deals with the effect that different structures for the legal profession might have on supporting legal practice. There is a particular focus on Queensland, and its Law Society’s claim that conveyancing protection is important infrastructure for practice in the bush. A spatial analysis was undertaken to compare the availability of legal services in Queensland and New South Wales (where non-lawyer conveyancing is allowed) in 2008. Areas in the two states classified according to the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) were compared, and it was found that NSW had an equal or marginally better provision of legal services in all ARIA categories. The implications that this has for conveyancing protection, and other differences between the states (the earlier availability of incorporated law practices (ILPs) and the higher number of regional law schools in NSW) are discussed. Only a comprehensive longitudinal analysis can more strongly isolate the likely effect, if any, of conveyancing protection, ILPs and regional law schools on bush practice. However, the suggestion is that the differences in legal infrastructure — including conveyancing protection — are less important for supporting legal services in the bush than social considerations (family, lifestyle, professional development, gender, employment patterns and salary) are likely to be.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/dlr2011vol16no1art95

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