Law body hits back at Rau jibe
A NEW rift has emerged between the peak body representing lawyers and the state’s top legal eagle, who disparagingly compared them to tradies who only opposed laws for financial reasons.
The Law Society, which represents more than 4000 lawyers and barristers, has publicly attacked AttorneyGeneral John Rau, SC, for his lack of “respect” and “illjudged” criticism of the 138 -year-old organisation.
Its governing body, which Mr Rau is a member of but has failed to attend a meeting in more than two-and-a-half years, has rejected derogatory comparisons with “plumbers” and claims its opposition is motivated by financial interests. Mr Rau’s comments came during Parliamentary debate on closing a legal “criminal organisation” loophole. Despite being a lawyer, Mr Rau criticised the society for adopting a “normal contrary stance”, in which they “disagree with everything you have done”.
President Tony Rossi, last month wrote to Mr Rau – controversially appointed Special Counsel in November last year – and Premier Jay Weatherill to express “concerns” at the “disturbing” claims but has received no reply. Mr Rossi, a civil lawyer fore more than 30 years, also penned an outspoken piece for its monthly magazine’s current edition.
He said the criticisms ignored its standing under state law and “important functions” entrusted by both the Parliament and the Supreme Court”.
“You would wish, and expect, that someone who has been granted the eminent status of Senior Counsel would understand, and be more respectful, of the (society’s) position,” he told The Advertiser.
Mr Rossi said he had “overwhelming support”. Mr Rau declined to comment. PAGE 16: EDITORIAL