Common issues with another case in another place a factor in favour of dismissal under s. 136A, Legal Practice Act, 1996

J’s Case [2000] VLPT 3

This decision may stand tenuously for the proposition that the factors favouring dismissal of a dispute under the Legal Practice Act, 1996 on the basis that it would be more appropriately dealt with by a court include the existence of factual disputes common to that dispute and another dispute being heard by another court or tribunal. But it is clear that it was an incidental consideration in the decision to dismiss the dispute.

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The pecuniary loss dispute in J’s Case was dismissed pursuant to the discretion invested in the Legal Profession Tribunal by s. 136A of the Legal Practice Act, 1996, which said:

“(1)    At any time, the Tribunal constituted by the registrar or a deputy registrar or the Full Tribunal may dismiss a dispute if it considers that the subject-matter of the dispute would be more appropriately dealt with by a court.

(2)    A dispute may be dismissed on the application of a party or on the Tribunal’s own initiative.

(3)    If the Tribunal dismisses a dispute, it may refer the matter to the relevant court if it considers it appropriate to do so.”

One of the factors taken into account was that many of the keenly contested issues of fact were common to a costs dispute over which the Tribunal did not have jurisdiction, and which the Family Court was in fact hearing.

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