Legal Practice

The Legal Practice List hears and decides disputes between lawyers and clients about legal services and costs, and cases about lawyers’ conduct.

Cases we can hear

We hear cases under laws that apply specifically to the legal profession:

  • Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) - found at Schedule 1 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014.
  • Legal Profession Act 2004. Sometimes we refer to this as 'the 2004 Act'.

We also hear cases under laws that apply generally to services.

  • Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012
  • Fair Trading Act 1999.

Cases we can't help with

We can’t accept some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.

Applying under legal profession laws

In disputes between lawyers and their clients, the law that applies to the case depends on such things as the date the client first instructed the lawyer, the date a complaint was made and the amount of the costs or the claim involved.If you have a dispute with your lawyer or your client, attempt to resolve the dispute directly with them first. If that fails the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner may be able to resolve the dispute.

Time limits

Applications to appeal or re-hear a decision related to disciplinary action

If applying for a rehearing of a VCAT order, where the original complaint was made or investigation started on or after 12 December 2005 you must apply to have the decision re-heard within 28 days of the date of the VCAT order made at the hearing.

If appealing a decision by VCAT where the original complaint was made or investigation started on before 12 December 2005 you must lodge a notice of appeal within 21 days of receiving a copy of the order made by the single member.

Disputes about legal costs

If you are a client or legal practitioner and you want us to hear your costs dispute under the Legal Profession Uniform Law or the Legal Profession Act 2004, you must apply within 60 days after receiving a written notice from the Legal Services Commissioner. The notice must state that the dispute has not been resolved by the Commissioner and state your right to make the application. If the 60 days time limit is about to expire you may be able to make the application by letter. Contact us if the 60 days time limit is about to expire and you want to apply.

Choose the type of application that applies to you

Apply to dispute legal costs or seek compensation

Make applications about disputed legal costs under laws that apply specifically to the legal profession and cases under laws that relate to services generally.

Review a VLSC decision imposing compensation or disciplinary orders

Lawyers may apply to VCAT to review compensation and disciplinary orders such as fines imposed on them by the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria).

Apply to set aside a cost agreement

We can only hear applications to set aside cost agreements where the client gave instructions to their lawyer before 1 July 2015.

Disciplinary charges against a legal practitioner

Only the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner can bring disciplinary charges against a legal practitioner at VCAT.

Apply to review a decision by the Victorian Legal Services Board

Applications to VCAT for a review of a decision of the Legal Services Board related to a practising certificate or investigation of trust accounts.

Apply to stop a disciplinary action from being published

If you have had disciplinary action brought against you as a result of a VCAT order you can apply to VCAT to have the action kept off the Register of Disciplinary Action or published anywhere else.

Application to disqualify someone who is not a lawyer

The Legal Services Board can apply to VCAT to disqualify someone who has been convicted of a serious offence, is not a fit and proper person or is otherwise unsuitable to work in a legal office.

Organisations that may be able to help you

VCAT can't offer you legal advice. Below are organisations that may be able to help with your case.

Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner

An independent authority that regulates the legal profession in Victoria.

Law Institute of Victoria (LIV)

Advice on the Victorian legal system and how to find a lawyer.