Mental Ill Health in the Profession and its Ethical Implications

Ethics and Professional Responsibility

CPD Points 1


Why is the mental health of legal professionals coming under so much scrutiny?  Gain a deeper understanding of the issue, the possible causes, and how it can be addressed and managed.

This course examines the issue of mental ill-health in the legal profession and lawyers’ ethical duties in relation to managing their own mental health issues, or dealing ethically with another lawyer’s issues. 

The course discusses the prevalence of mental ill-health in the legal profession with reference to a number of studies conducted in Australia and North America.  It then examines the “fit and proper” person test for admission and practice which exists in most jurisdictions, and how this relates to issues of mental ill-health.

The course also discusses the duty of lawyers to notify a professional regulatory body in certain circumstances.  It also provides an overview of the options available to a regulatory body and the courts if such a notification is made.

This course aims to: 

  • outline the circumstances in which mental ill health may disentitle or restrict the ability of a lawyer to practice law;
  • identify the duties that may be owed by lawyers to notify a regulator about their illness; and 
  • identify the duties that may be owed by lawyers upon becoming aware of the illness of another lawyer.


Last Updated: December 2021

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LawCPD Author: Dr Michelle Sharpe

Dr. Michelle Sharpe

Dr. Michelle Sharpe is a member of the Victorian Bar practicing in general commercial, consumer protection law and administrative law.

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What Lawyers Say

  1. 5.0/5
    Helpful Information!
    Excellent course! A must for all lawyers!
    - P. Petersen, Solicitor
  2. 5.0/5
    Brilliant course
    Brilliant course
  3. 4.0/5
    Interesting and informative.
    An important topic to be covered for our profession. Interesting and informative.