Lawyers in NSW are banned from advertising personal injury services.
According to the NSW Law Society, the use of the following words is banned in lawyers’ advertising:
- asbestos litigation
- chemical spill injuries
- car accidents
- diving accidents
- driving accidents
- disability (subject to context)
- dust diseases
- hurt at work
- hurt on road
- injury law
- medical malpractice
- medical negligence
- motor vehicle accident claims
- motor vehicle collision claims
- motor vehicle accidents
- motor vehicle injuries
- occupiers liability
- pain and disability
- personal injury
- public liability
- public place accidents
- shopping centre accidents
- slips, trips and falls
- toxic exposures
- victims compensation
- victims of crime
- work accidents
- work place injuries
- workers compensation
The relevant provisions which prohibit such advertising are contained in clauses 23 to 40 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 and clauses 74 to 80 of the Workers Compensation Regulation 2003.
Clause 24 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 provides:
24 Restriction on advertising personal injury services
(1) A barrister or solicitor must not publish or cause or permit to be published an advertisement that promotes the availability or use of a barrister or solicitor to provide legal services if the advertisement includes any reference to or depiction of any of the following:
(a) personal injury,
(b) any circumstance in which personal injury might occur, or any activity, event or circumstance that suggests or could suggest the possibility of personal injury, or any connection to or association with personal injury or a cause of personal injury,
“personal injury legal service” (that is, any legal service that relates to recovery of money, or any entitlement to recover money, in respect of personal injury).
Maximum penalty: 200 penalty units.
(2) A contravention of this clause by a barrister or solicitor is declared to be professional misconduct.
Note : A contravention of clause 75 of the Workers Compensation Regulation 2003 can also be a contravention of this clause.
(3) Evidence that a barrister or solicitor has been convicted of an offence under this clause or under clause 75 of the Workers Compensation Regulation 2003 is sufficient evidence of a contravention of this clause by the barrister or solicitor for the purposes of any proceedings under Chapter 4 (Complaints and discipline) of the Act.
Clause 23 provides:
In this Division:
“advertisement” means any communication of information (whether by means of writing, or any still or moving visual image or message or audible message, or any combination of them) that advertises or otherwise promotes a product or service, whether or not that is its purpose or only purpose and whether or not that is its effect or only effect.
“personal injury” includes pre-natal injury, impairment of a person’s physical or mental condition, and disease.
(a) publish in a newspaper, magazine, journal, periodical, directory or other printed publication, or
(b) disseminate by means of the exhibition or broadcast of a photograph, slide, film, video recording, audio recording or other recording of images or sound, either as a public exhibition or broadcast or as an exhibition or broadcast to persons attending a place for the purpose of receiving professional advice, treatment or assistance, or
(c) broadcast by radio or television, or
(d) display on an internet website or otherwise publicly disseminate by means of the internet, or
(e) publicly exhibit in, on, over or under any building, vehicle or place or in the air in view of persons in or on any street or public place, or
(f) display on any document (including a business card or letterhead) gratuitously sent or gratuitously delivered to any person or thrown or left on any premises or on any vehicle, or
(g) display on any document provided to a person as a receipt or record in respect of a transaction or bet.
“solicitor” includes the following:
(a) a partnership of which a solicitor is a member (but only if the business of the partnership includes business of a kind ordinarily conducted by a solicitor),
(b) a solicitor corporation,
(c) an incorporated legal practice.
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