REPRESENTATON OF PRACTITIONERS
BEFORE THE LEGAL PROFESSION COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE
THE STATE ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL
The recent report of the Law Society dealing with psychological distress and depression in the profession revealed starkly the distress, stress and anxiety experienced by members of the profession who are the subject of complaint to the LPCC and SAT.
One matter that emerges from the report is an apprehension that practitioners, particularly younger practitioners and those in sole or small practices, feel that they cannot afford the expense of seeking legal advice to deal with a complaint.
It is important that all members of the profession, and in particular younger practitioners and those in sole or small practices, understand that it has been and is a widespread custom of silks in this jurisdiction not to charge any fee to advise and appear for practitioners who are the subject of complaint; or to charge a nominal or modest fee (only) if there is a substantial hearing. This is also the practice of many senior juniors at the Bar.
Some practitioners who are the subject of complaint often do not know senior practitioners and may feel reticent or embarrassed about approaching senior counsel or senior juniors for help. They should not. In any event, the President of the Bar Association will always be available to any member of the profession to advise them about such matters and direct them for assistance. The contact details of the President of the Bar Association are on this web site.
As noted, the custom of not charging a fee in disciplinary matters is widespread but perhaps not universal. As such, it would be appropriate for any practitioner seeking the assistance of senior counsel in a disciplinary matter to ask whether there is an expectation that a fee will be rendered.