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If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Appealing a commissioner decision

Generally the determination of a complaint made about a lawyer by the Legal Services Commissioner is final. However, there are a few exceptions to this.

Internal review

The commissioner has absolute discretion to conduct an internal review of its decision. The commissioner may investigate whether the decision was dealt with appropriately and whether it was based on reasonable grounds.

Because this discretionary power is absolute, it is not intended that this will provide an avenue of merits review. According to the explanatory memorandum for the bill, the purpose of this clause is to allow the authority to correct defects in its decisions if required.

See:

  • cl. 313—Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic) and
  • Part 5.6—Explanatory memorandum—Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Bill 2013 (Vic) (links below)

Appeals to VCAT

Only limited appeals are available under the Uniform Law. A lawyer may appeal to VCAT against a decision of the commissioner about:

  • a determination made in relation to unsatisfactory professional conduct
  • a compensation order if the amount was more than $10,000.

See cl. 290, 299, 314—Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic) (link below)

Appeals to Supreme Court

An appeal against a decision at VCAT can be made to the Supreme Court (or the Supreme Court of Appeal) on a question of law. The application must be made within 28 days of VCAT making an order.

See s. 148—Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic)

More information

Legislation

Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria)

  • Part 5.6—appeal or review
  • cl. 290—determination of consumer matters by commissioner
  • cl. 299—commissioner's decision about unsatisfactory professional conduct
  • cl. 312—commissioner's decision is final except as provided for in Part 5.6
  • cl. 313—allows the commissioner to conduct an internal review at their discretion
  • cl. 314—right to appeal decisions of the commissioner

See Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria).

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic)

  • s. 148—appeals from the Tribunal
  • s. 149—Tribunal may stay its order pending a decision of the Supreme Court.

See Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic).

Reference

Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Bill 2013 (Vic)

  • Part 5.6—Explanatory Memorandum

See Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Bill 2013 (Vic).

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

The VCAT website has information on applications to hear disciplinary charges, including how to apply for a re-hearing or appeal.

See VCAT—Legal Practice.

Updated