A Compensation Order is made by a disciplinary body (either the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) or the Legal Practice Committee (LPC).
All complaints made to the Legal Services Commission will be considered and may be investigated further. At the end of the investigation, the Commissioner decides whether or not there is enough evidence to commence disciplinary proceedings against the lawyer in either QCAT or the LPC.
QCAT or the LPC may make a compensation order if it finds that the lawyer’s conduct is either unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.
Any compensation ordered is payable by the law practice. Compensation orders are not intended to reach the original legal goals. If the conduct of the lawyer has resulted in significant financial losses, another lawyer may need to be consulted about whether there are any rights and remedies to recover costs.
recover important documents
compensate for distress
stop the lawyer seeking payment of legal fees
compensate for damage to your reputation
order the lawyer to provide certain legal work for free or for a fixed fee
compensate for psychological injuries
repay you part or all of the professional fees already paid to the lawyer
guarantee full compensation for all financial losses
compensate for financial loss up to $7,500.00
The table below shows some examples of when a compensation order may be issued
The law firm promised services which were not diligently or competently carried out. The law firm is suing for the recovery of legal fees for that work.
A compensation order preventing the recovery of those legal fees.
The law firm has already sued for legal fees and the amount sued for has been paid to the legal firm.
A compensation order for legal fees to be repaid to you.
Another law firm has been retained following the unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct of the previous lawyer.
A compensation order to reimburse the legal costs of the new law firm up to $7,500.00.
The lawyer has failed to complete the sale or purchase of a house on time. This has been due to either unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct. This caused the loss of the $5,000.00 deposit.
A compensation order to reimburse for the loss of $5,000.00.
The Commission may assist complainants to seek compensation. To begin the process:
- an affidavit may need to be completed
- complainants may be required to give evidence before either the QCAT or Legal Practice Committee.
A legal officer from the Legal Services Commission may assist in preparing the affidavit. Of course, another legal representative may assist with making the claim for compensation.
Note: Although the Commissioner may assist with a claim for compensation before a disciplinary body, the Commissioner does not act on behalf of complainants or any party in a matter.
Most orders are for financial loss and 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?
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 the QCAT or the LPC, the orders 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 compensation orders. If the firm does not comply with the compensation order, seek independent legal advice.