Disciplinary charges against a legal practitioner

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can only hear cases brought to us by the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner  against a legal practitioner due to unprofessional conduct or misconduct.

Involvement of the complainant

The person who makes the original complaint to the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner is called the complainant. Normally the complainant is not a partyDefinitionA person or organisation directly involved in a VCAT case, including a person or organisation that has brought the case before VCAT or who is defending claims made against them. to the VCAT proceeding. However the complainant has a right to be heard if we are likely to make an order in favour of the complainant.

Alleged unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct

If someone makes a complaint to the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner about the professional conduct of a legal professional, the Commissioner usually investigates. The Commissioner may then apply to VCAT for a disciplinary order.

Rehearings under the Legal Profession Act 2004

Where a complaint was made on or after 12 December 2005 or the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner started an investigation after 12 December 2005, the legal professional may apply for a rehearing under section 4.4.21 of the Act.

Application for a rehearing

If the President or a Vice-President of VCAT did not preside at the hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. the legal practitioner has a right to a rehearing.

A panel of at least two VCAT members rehears the case.

You must apply to have the decision reheard using the Application to refer a matter form within 28 days of the date of the VCAT order made at the hearing. You do not have to pay a fee for a re-hearing.

At a rehearing, we follow similar steps to those at your initial hearing, adapted as required by the memberDefinitionA person who hears and decides cases at VCAT. Some members are specialists in particular areas of law. .

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

If you want to be represented by a lawyer or have some other professional representation at the final hearing tell the member at the directions hearingDefinitionA directions hearing is a hearing where a VCAT member decides how a case should be managed and how much time it will take. .

The VCAT member who conducts the final hearing grants or refuses permission for you to be represented. In disciplinary cases in the Legal Practice ListDefinitionA List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services. the Commissioner is usually represented by a lawyer and you are usually given permission to be represented by a lawyer.

Find legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.