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Legal Practice Committee

The Legal Practice Committee (the LPC) was established under the Legal Profession Act 2004 and continued under the Legal Profession Act 2007 (the Act) to hear and decide discipline applications made by the LSC which apply for orders that find lawyers guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and discipline applications which apply for orders that find law practice employees guilty of misconduct and which impose an appropriate penalty.

Importantly the LPC is not empowered to make orders which find lawyers guilty of professional misconduct. Discipline applications which allege professional misconduct must be made to, and heard and decided by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

The LPC also has an advisory function – to monitor the adequacy of the legal profession rules (the barristers and the solicitors rules which govern the conduct of barristers and solicitors respectively and the rule governing the conduct of incorporated legal practices) and at the Minister’s request to make recommendations about the rules. 

It comprises seven people appointed by the Governor-in-Council: a chairperson, two solicitors, two barristers, and two lay people who are not lawyers and who ‘have high level experience and knowledge of consumer protection, business, public administration or another relevant area.’ The Act requires that the committee members - the members of the Legal Practice Committee - must appoint a member other than the chairperson to be the deputy chairperson.  

The LPC is constituted for purposes of its advisory functions by any four of its members including the chairperson or deputy chairperson or, if neither is available, a member chosen by the members who are present to preside at the meeting. 

It is constituted for purpose of hearing discipline applications by the chairperson (or deputy chairperson), a solicitor or a barrister (depending on whether the discipline application concerns complaint is about a solicitor or barrister) and a lay member. 

The Act requires that hearings must be open to the public unless the committee directs that a hearing or a part of a hearing be closed, and it authorises the committee, if it is satisfied that a lawyer is guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct or that a law practice employee is guilty of misconduct, to make orders including that:

  • the lawyer pay a penalty of up to $10,000;
  • the lawyer be publicly (or in special circumstances, privately) reprimanded;
  • the lawyer ‘do or refrain from doing something in connection with engaging in legal practice’,  or engage in legal practice subject to stated conditions or periodic inspection seek advice, or seek advice from a person nominated by his or her professional body; 
  • the lawyer’s law practice reduce or waive its fees or provide stated legal services  without a fee or for a stated fee or, if the lawyer’s unsatisfactory professional conduct or law practice employee’s misconduct has caused a complainant to suffer pecuniary loss, pay the  complainant compensation of up to $7500; and 
  • the law practice employee not be employed in a law practice in Queensland or be employed only subject to stated conditions. 

Additionally, the Committee must order lawyers it finds guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct to pay the Commission’s costs unless it is satisfied ‘exceptional circumstances exist’.

The Minister, the Commissioner, respondent lawyers and law practice employees and other parties who are dissatisfied with a decision of the LPC can appeal the decision in QCAT. 

Last reviewed
10 February 2015
Last updated
10 February 2015

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