Chairman, Full Legal Profession Tribunal criticised for abusing solicitor in misconduct prosecution

In B (A Solicitor) v Victorian Lawyers RPA Ltd (2002) 6 VR 642 (Ormiston, Charles and Batt JJA), the majority criticised the Chairman of the Full Legal Profession Tribunal for retorting to the solicitor’s submission that “These proceedings are a full time occupation for me” with “Occupation or obsession, Mr [G]?”. They said it was taken, with some justification, as a term of abuse. But they found that, and some other comments, raised no case of apparent bias such that the Chairman should have excused himself. But the majority said at [62] that:

“even if an arguable case of bias had been raised by these comments, it was G’s duty to take the point at once and seek to have the Tribunal deal forthwith upon his claim of bias. By failing to object, G, in our view, waived any right to appeal against an adverse decision on the ground of what had been said at the hearing or previously; see Vakauta v. Kelly (1989) 167 C.L.R. 569.”

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