This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit legalaid.vic.gov.au, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

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.

Mediation of consumer complaints about lawyers

Mediation used by the Legal Services Commissioner to resolve disputes about legal practitioners.

Mediation is one method used by the Legal Services Commissioner to resolve disputes. It is a confidential process and there are no costs involved. The commissioner may order the parties to attend mediation in relation to a consumer matter.

See cl. 288—Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic) (link below)

Finding a mediator

A mediator must be appointed from a selected panel and must attempt to resolve the dispute between lawyer and the person who made the complaint.

The complainant may have legal representation or, with permission of the mediator, be represented by another person.

Failure to act in good faith

If the person who is complaining does not mediate in good faith the commissioner may close the complaint in relation to the consumer matter.

See cl. 288(5)—Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic) (link below)

Unsuccessful mediation

If all parties attend and the mediation is unsuccessful, the mediator is obliged to advise the commissioner as soon as possible. The commissioner may then investigate the complaint and make a determination.

See cl. 288(4)—Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic) (link below)

Confidentiality

What is said in mediation is confidential. The commissioner must not use anything that is said in mediation when it is making a determination about the matter. Also anything said or admitted in mediation will not be admissible in any court or tribunal proceedings.

See cl. 288(6)—Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic) (link below)

Mediation agreements

If the mediation is successful the commissioner may close the complaint or the part of the complaint that was successfully resolved.

Evidence or documents from a mediation session are inadmissible in any other court or tribunal proceedings, with the exception of an agreement made through mediation.

An agreement is a written record prepared by the mediator which must be signed by each party (or their representative) and be certified by the mediator. A copy of the agreement is given to each party involved and to the commissioner.

Agreements may be filed with the Magistrates’ Court. The agreement is then taken to be an order of the Magistrates’ Court and may be enforceable as such.

See cl. 289—Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic) (link below)

More information

Legislation

Legal Profession Uniform Law (Vic)

  • cl. 288—mediation
  • cl. 289—settlement agreements

See Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria).

References

The Legal Services Commissioner has produced a factsheet on mediation.

See 'Mediations' in Legal Services Board and Commissioner—Forms.

Updated