It is a bit of a funny one, and a little bit shocking, to learn that in Australia, there are laws designed to prevent lawyers from making lawyers’ jokes, in particular jokes that are designed to be funny and/or in the public interest.
Here is a brief summary of what they are and what they do.
What is a lawyer joke?
There are a few common legal-related jokes that lawyers make.
They may also be referred to as “lawyer jokes” because they are intended to be taken seriously.
There are also some legal-specific jokes.
What are lawyers laughing about?
Some lawyers make jokes that involve lawyers.
They also make jokes about lawyers that involve other lawyers.
Examples of these are jokes that mock lawyers’ egos, or how they are trying to protect their reputation, or jokes that have a legal connotation, or about a lawyer’s competence.
Other lawyers joke about lawyers’ children.
Some lawyers joke that lawyers should not talk about themselves in the same breath as other lawyers, because it may be considered disrespectful to the other lawyers in the bar.
In other cases, they joke that their clients are not lawyers, but instead have different legal or professional backgrounds.
Some jokes have a political or social connotation.
Some have a religious or ethical connotation; for example, jokes that ridicule people’s religious beliefs or values, or their views on abortion.
Other jokes have no political connotation or have been made to satirise the behaviour of law students or people in other professions.
In addition, some jokes have been recorded for the purpose of political commentary, but which were made in good faith.
What should lawyers do if they are being asked to make a lawyer-related joke?
Lawyers should always be respectful of their clients’ privacy.
They should not make jokes of their own that may be offensive or insulting to others.
They must always tell their clients the truth.
They need to respect the privacy of the person who makes the joke, and be clear about what they mean by what they say.
Lawyers should never make a joke that might be perceived as racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic.
They will be accused of offending a vulnerable group if they make a racist joke or a sexist joke.
Lawyers must never make jokes in which the words used are not the words spoken by the speaker.
They can also not make a general joke about any group or any topic.
They do not need to be specific or direct.
They are not expected to say anything that is not explicitly protected by the law.
If lawyers make a legal-based joke about a particular group, they must be respectful and give the group’s name and address, or, if they have to give it, the person they are referring to.
Lawyers are expected to not make legal-legal jokes.
This includes jokes about a person being arrested, prosecuted or sued for an offence that is protected by law.
Lawyers need not be particular about the law they are using.
It is important to remember that there is no obligation to be clear and precise in your legal-level legal-speak.
There is also no obligation for lawyers to say everything in their legal-style legal-language.
If a lawyer makes a joke about something that is covered by a law, it is best not to comment on the law itself.
Lawyers also need to avoid making jokes about other people’s legal-class positions.
Some legal-profession lawyers make legal jokes about their clients’, colleagues’, clients’, or other clients’ legal-classes, even if the joke is in bad taste.
If you have any questions about this, you should contact the Australian Bar Association’s legal information line on 1300 702 523.
This information can be accessed by contacting the Lawyers Advice and Advocacy Bureau.
You can also contact the legal information office of your local bar.
You may also contact your local lawyers’ association.
If an offence is committed in relation to an offending lawyer’s legal jokes, they may be liable to a civil penalty of up to $1000.00 and/ or up to one year imprisonment, or a criminal penalty of two years imprisonment and/ and/ the use of a telecommunications device.
This is the maximum penalty that can be imposed.
Legal advice and/ an appeal may be available from the Australian Law Reform Commission.
Legal matters: lawyer jokes lawyer lawyer jokes are jokes intended to humour, in the common law sense, lawyers who make jokes.
These are not legally enforceable, but they can be considered humorous in their nature and for the purposes of the law, as long as the joke itself is not meant to offend anyone or be offensive.
They usually involve legal advice.
This advice is intended to help the person concerned understand the law and is not intended to prejudice or cause a breach of the peace.
The legal advice should not be used to make an opinion or make legal decisions about the legal issue.
The lawyer should seek advice from the appropriate legal practitioner before making a legal complaint.
Legal issues: lawyers lawyer jokes