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What the Commission cannot do

The Commission cannot:

  • give legal advice or provide legal representation—complainants need to seek their own legal advice about what civil remedies are available to them (for legal advice, contact Legal Aid Queensland, LawRight, your local community legal centre or the Queensland Law Society referral service.
  • accept complaints that are frivolous or vexatious, or complaints that have been dealt with previously when there is no good reason to reconsider the matter.
  • accept complaints about the conduct of an individual if, at the time, they were not acting as a legal practitioner or law practice employee but in some other capacity such as an investment adviser, immigration agent or member of parliament.
  • accept complaints about decisions of courts or tribunals or review past proceedings in courts or tribunals. The Commission is not an alternative means of appeal. Complainants who are unhappy about decisions of courts or tribunals should seek independent legal advice about their prospects of successfully appealing those decisions in a higher court.
  • accept complaints about government legal officers unless the complaint is made by the chief executive officer of the government department or agency that employs them, the Queensland Law Society or the Bar Association of Queensland, or another legal practitioner.
  • decide whether legal practitioners have overcharged their clients or alternatively whether their fees were fair and reasonable as the Commission does not have the powers to do so, see Fact Sheet Legal Costs - your right to know
  • decide whether legal practitioners have been negligent. The disciplinary scheme under the Legal Profession Act 2007 is not intended to be an alternative forum to the courts for hearing and deciding claims of negligence against lawyers. The Commission might consider taking disciplinary action against legal practitioners who have been obviously and demonstrably negligent but, generally speaking, legal consumers who believe their lawyers have been negligent will have to take them to court to prove they were negligent and should take independent legal advice accordingly. As a rule the Commission will consider taking disciplinary action only after negligence has been proved in a court.

Having said that, there are some circumstances in which the Commission might be able to help legal consumers who believe their lawyer was negligent. It might be possible to resolve things to both the consumers and their lawyer’s satisfaction in circumstances in which, for example, the practitioner has made an honest or careless mistake of some kind such as losing a title deed or miscalculating a rates adjustment in a conveyance. In the Commission’s opinion, practitioners in these circumstances should be expected to make good their mistake.

Last reviewed
10 April 2019
Last updated
10 April 2019

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