Elder Abuse and Lawyers' Ethical Responsibilities: Prevent, Identify & Respond

Ethics and Professional Responsibility

CPD Points 1


Elder abuse is a significant and growing problem in Australia. To meet their ethical obligations, lawyers must be aware of the risk factors and signs of elder abuse, and equip themselves with the knowledge of how to respond to situations of concern.

Lawyers have an important role to play in preventing and responding to elder abuse. Multiple elder abuse inquiries, disciplinary proceedings and court rulings have noted that where lawyers fail to meet their professional responsibilities, they may inadvertently enable elder abuse and exploitation to occur.

This course aims to equip lawyers to effectively prevent, identify and respond to elder abuse. It is designed to:

  • improve lawyers’ knowledge of types of elder abuse, and key risk factors that heighten the vulnerability of older clients;
  • equip lawyers’ with strategies to prevent elder abuse, and to identify and act on warning signs or ‘red flags’;
  • explore specific examples of elder abuse in the context of financial arrangements, including power of attorney appointments;
  • support lawyers in meeting their ethical obligations to older clients; and
  • increase awareness of resources available to assist lawyers and their older clients

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Last Updated: December 2021

Author Profile

LawCPD author: Nola Ries

Associate Professor Nola Ries

Associate Professor Nola Ries is an expert in law, health and ageing and is qualified as a lawyer in Australia and Canada. She currently leads research on elder abuse and teaches on topics relevant to law and ageing, including legal aspects of capacity assessment and legal issues in palliative and aged care.

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What Lawyers Say

  1. 4.0/5
    Clear and Simple Advice
    Good. It gives more understanding of the issues and remedies available.
    - M. Selth, Solicitor
  2. 5.0/5
    Excellent overview of ethical challenges dealing with older clients
    The course was well paced and raised the fundamental considerations when dealing with older clients who may be at risk of being abused. For those wanting to delve a little more deeply there were references to a number of sources of material and government publications as well as support services.
    - M. Quirk, Solicitor
  3. 5.0/5
    In-Depth Content
    I'm returning to practice after a long absence, so I appreciated the depth of the content covered in this course.
  4. 5.0/5
    Excellent course
    It helped me focus on important matters that a solicitor should seriously consider in acting for an elderly client.