No appearing on behalf of others in VCAT when your practising certificate’s suspended

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Amendment No. 17) Rules 2006 will introduce a new class of people prohibited from representing others in VCAT: lawyers whose practising certificates are suspended or who have been struck off the role of practitioners. No doubt some bright spark had her practising certificate suspended and decided to continue practising by appearing for others in VCAT on the pretext that you don’t have to be a lawyer to do so (in fact, if you are a lawyer, your client has to seek permission to have you represent them: see s. 62 of the VCAT Act, 1998). The new rule 4.24 will say:

“Classes of persons disqualified from being professional advocate

(1) For the purposes of section 62(8) of the Act, a person is disqualified from being a professional advocate if—

(a) the person, being or having been a legal practitioner, has been the subject of disciplinary proceedings under the law of Victoria, another State, a Territory or the Commonwealth and has been found guilty in those proceedings of professional misconduct (by whatever name called) or of another breach of professional standards, whereby the person is not currently permitted to practise”.

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