In England, the stern sounding Bar Standards Board brought disciplinary proceedings against a black barrister, Portia O’Connor, the first barrister to become a partner in one of the very modern alternative business structures they allow in old Blighty these days. They succeeded but the decision was overturned on appeal and the appellate tribunal was not complimentary about the procedures of the Board. So the barrister sued the Board for discrimination. The regulator relied on limitation defences. The Supreme Court has just decided that the defences were misconceived: O’Connor v Bar Standards Board  UKSC 78. Should be an interesting case.
Meanwhile, in Kaczmarski v Victorian Legal Services Board  VSC 690 the Board, represented by an external firm of solicitors and experienced counsel, tried unsuccessfully to shut an unrepresented shareholder of an incorporated legal practice out of an appeal against the reappointment of an external manager to the practice. It did so by arguing for an extraordinarily strict and as it turned out quite wrong approach to what it said was an un-extendable 7 day time limit for appealing.
I must say I’m puzzled what all the fuss was about, in view of s. 155 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014. That section makes clear that nothing in the LPUL limits or restricts the Supreme Court’s administrative law jurisdiction, so that the reappointment of the external manager might have been challenged by judicial review, for which order 56 of the Supreme Court’s rules provides a 60 day extendable time limit, or under the Administrative Law Act 1978 which provides a 30 day time limit. But neither side seems to have made argument by reference to it. The bases on which the decision might have been challenged, and the relief available might well have been different between the three avenues of challenge, of course. Continue reading “Supreme Courts tell legal regulators their limitation defences are bollocks”