Said Georges’ Case  VCAT 414
Upon bankruptcy certain causes of action vest in the trustee in bankruptcy, and others do not: see ss. 58(1) and 116(2) Bankruptcy Act, 1966. This dispute vested in the trustee upon the client’s bankruptcy, but the trustee wrote the client a letter consenting to “the bankrupt’s pursuit of the dispute with [the solicitor] by lodging the appropriate applications to the Legal Profession Tribunal”. Mr Butcher found that though the trustee probably had the power to engage the bankrupt client to pursue the claim for the benefit of the estate, but “the letter does not indicate to me that such was the intention of the trustee”, and dismissed the dispute.
Evidently, this was a matter overlooked by the Law Institute which blithely exercised jurisdiction it did not have, to the detriment not only of the taxpayer’s pocket but of the solicitor’s.
Bernard Sheehy was for the solicitor, and Alan Hebb for the Tribunal.
- Trustee has standing to apply to set aside costs agreement between bankrupt and solicitor
- Bankrupt may not initiate dispute resolution procedure in relation to rights accrued prior to bankruptcy
- Common issues with another case in another place a factor in favour of dismissal under s. 136A, Legal Practice Act, 1996
- Woman bankrupted because of solicitor’s failure to attend court suffered no loss
- Mr Butcher finds fees payable where solicitor retained but instructed to do nothing