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 party 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 hearing 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 member.

Apply

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.

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 hearing.

The VCAT member who conducts the final hearing grants or refuses permission for you to be represented. In disciplinary cases in the Legal Practice List 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.

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.

Other organisations that may help

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.