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Compensation orders

Compensation orders

Who makes a compensation order?

A compensation order is made by a disciplinary body (either the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) or Legal Practice Committee (the Committee)).

The Legal Services Commissioner does not have the power to make orders for compensation.

When will a compensation order be made?

Following disciplinary proceedings against a lawyer, QCAT or the Committee may make a compensation order if it finds that the lawyer’s conduct is found to be either unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.

Who pays the compensation order?

Any compensation ordered is payable by the law practice. Compensation orders are not intended to help you reach your original legal goals. If the conduct of your lawyer has resulted in significant financial losses on your part, you may need to consult another lawyer regarding your rights and remedies to recover costs.

Compensation orders can:

  • recover important documents
  • stop your lawyer seeking payment of legal fees
  • order your lawyer to provide certain legal work for free or for a fixed fee
  • repay you part or all of the professional fees already paid to your lawyer
  • compensate you for financial loss up to $7500.

Compensation orders cannot:

  • compensate you for distress
  • compensate you for damage to your reputation
  • compensate you for psychological injuries
  • guarantee full compensation for all financial losses.

What role does the Commission play?

The Commission may assist complainants to seek compensation. To begin the process:

  • you need to complete an affidavit
  • you may be required to give evidence before either QCAT or the Committee.

A legal officer from the Commission can assist you in preparing the affidavit or you may wish to have your own legal representative assist you in making a claim for compensation.

Although the Commissioner may assist you with a claim for compensation before a disciplinary body, the Commissioner does not act on your behalf.

Compensation orders for financial loss (pecuniary loss)

Most orders are for financial loss. They may include:

  • legal fees payable to your new law firm
  • money lost as a direct result of your current lawyer’s conduct.

The maximum compensation order for financial loss is $7,500.00. The amount is limited by the Legal Profession Act 2007.

Will a compensation order affect other legal avenues?

No. An amount awarded by a compensation order does not affect any other legal avenues you may choose to pursue or their outcome. However, the amount awarded will be taken into account in any other legal proceeding relating to the same loss.

What if the firm does not comply with the compensation order?

When compensation orders are made by QCAT or the Committee, they may be enforced through filing the order in the appropriate court. Once the order has been filed, you can take steps to have the order enforced. The Commission does not assist in the recovery or enforcement of your compensation order. If the firm does not comply with the compensation order you should seek independent legal advice.

More information

If you have any questions or require further information, contact the Legal Services Commission:


07 3564 7726 (Brisbane)
1300 655 754 (outside Brisbane)
133 677 (if you require the use of the National Relay Service)
131 450 (if you require a translator/interpreter).