Am I giving legal advice when I use

QUESTION: Am I giving legal advice when I use

ANSWER: The author of all legal documents at LawCentral is the lawyer that puts the document up at LawCentral. The lawyer keeps copyright in the document. No one else is legally the author. The lawyer has the sole control and ownership of that document.

Therefore, the answer to your question is usually no. It is the lawyer that provides the document on the website. It is the lawyer that has created the logic flow and set up the questions. It is the lawyer that has written all the hints to explain how the document works.

The lawyer puts the document up at LawCentral so that a locked PDF document is created. That document is locked so that it can not be altered. That gives the lawyer confidence that the client can NOT alter the document. An altered document may destroy the effect of the document.

Law firms can only put their documents up at LawCentral if they provide a minimum of $1.5m worth of the law firm’s Professional Indemnity insurance on each and every legal document created at LawCentral.

The person that puts in the answers to the questions on the web site is just a mere scribe. If you are only a mere scribe – i.e. filing in forms and questions – then generally you are not giving legal advice.

“… the court held that work of the mere clerical kind, such as filling out of skeletal blanks … should be generally regarded as the legitimate right of any layman because it involves nothing more or less than the clerical operations of the now almost obsolete scrivener.” cited in Computer Accounting & Tax Pty Ltd [2007] WASC 184 (13 August 2007).
However, you need to be careful that you do not interpret a question or explain one of LawCentral’s hints. If you do then you may be giving legal advice if you are producing a legal document that only lawyers are allowed to prepare.

There seems to be some latitude when it comes to setting up Unit Trusts, Family Trusts and Self Managed Superannuation Funds. Most are set up by accountants and advisers on behalf of their clients. LawCentral prepares over 1,000 Division 7A Loan Agreements most of those are prepared by Accountants on behalf of their clients. Provided you are only acting as a mere scribe you generally are not giving legal advice.

However, if you prefer, stick the client in front of your computer to answer the questions.

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Post Author: mark

2 thoughts on “Am I giving legal advice when I use


    (February 4, 2010 - 9:14 am)

    Probable not. It is …
    Probable not. It is generally best to use a lawyer that has a licence in the jurisdiction. Brett Davies

    Brett Davies, Brett Davies Lawyers
    201 Adelaide Terrace, Perth
    08 9325 8033 or 041 998 0972


    (February 4, 2010 - 9:14 am)

    Hey Brett, can i …
    Hey Brett, can i have a Lawyer from the U.S represent me from the states? If im in British Columbia? Thanks Doug

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