Professional Misconduct

Professional misconduct is serious conduct and is defined in the Legal Profession Act 2007.

Professional misconduct is defined more broadly than unsatisfactory professional conduct and may include personal conduct by an Australian legal practitioner which does not occur in connection with the practice of law, but only if that conduct is so serious that it demonstrates the person is not fit and proper to continue as a member of the legal profession.

1. Professional misconduct includes—

(a) unsatisfactory professional conduct of an Australian legal practitioner, if the conduct involves a substantial or consistent failure  
to reach or keep a reasonable standard of competence and diligence; and

(b)conduct of an Australian legal practitioner, whether happening in connection with the practice of law or happening otherwise
than in connection with the practice of law that would, if established, justify a finding that the practitioner is not a fit and proper
person to engage in legal practice.

2. For a finding that an Australian legal practitioner is not a fit and proper person to engage in legal practice as mention in
subsection (1), regard may be had to the suitability matters that would be considered if the practitioner were an applicant for
admission to the legal profession under this Act or for the grant or renewal of a local practising certificate.

Legal Profession Act s 419.

Conduct capable of constituting unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct


(1) The following conduct is capable of constituting unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct—

(a) conduct consisting of a contravention of a relevant law, whether the conduct happened before or after the commencement of this section;

Note
Under the Acts Interpretation Act 1954, section 7, and the Statutory Instruments Act 1992, section 7, a contravention in relation to this Act would include a contravention of a regulation or legal profession rules and a contravention in relation to a previous Act would include a contravention of a legal profession rule under the Legal Profession Act 2004.

(b) charging of excessive legal costs in connection with the practice of law;

(c) conduct for which there is a conviction for—

(i) a serious offence; or
(ii) a tax offence; or
(iii) an offence involving dishonesty;

(d) conduct of an Australian legal practitioner as or in becoming an insolvent under administration;

(e) conduct of an Australian legal practitioner in becoming disqualified from managing or being involved in the management of any corporation under the Corporations Act;

(f) conduct of an Australian legal practitioner in failing to comply with an order of a disciplinary body made under this Act or an order of a corresponding disciplinary body made under a corresponding law, including a failure to pay wholly or partly a fine imposed under this Act or a corresponding law;

(g) conduct of an Australian legal practitioner in failing to comply with a compensation order made under this Act or a corresponding law.

(2) Also, conduct that happened before the commencement of this subsection that, at the time it happened, consisted of a contravention of a relevant law or a corresponding law is capable of constituting unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.

(3) This section does not limit section 418 or 419.