Kaiser v Faulkner  VCAT 1302
What this case illustrates is simply that upon bankruptcy the right to seek compensation or the waiver or diminution of legal costs through the dispute process under the Legal Practice Act, 1996 vests in the trustee in bankruptcy and never revests in the bankrupt even if not taken up by the trustee.
This is a very boring case indeed. Mr Kaiser went bankrupt. His property, including “the capacity to exercise, and to take proceedings for exercising all such powers in, over or in respect of property as might have been exercised by the bankrupt for his or her own benefit at the commencement of the bankruptcy or at any time after the commencement of the bankruptcy and before his or her discharge” vested in his trustee: s. 58 Bankruptcy Act, 1966 (Cth.) read with the definition of “property” and “property divisible among creditors”. Then he instituted a dispute resolution request — whether a pecuniary loss or costs dispute is not stated. Then he referred that dispute to the Legal Profession Tribunal when Professional Standards was unable to resolve it by negotiation. Then he was discharged from bankruptcy. Mr Butcher found that the making under s. 123 of the Legal Practice Act, 1996 was a right only the trustee could exercise. The trustee indicated that he did not wish to pursue the matter. Mr Butcher found he had no jurisdiction, the discharge of the applicant’s bankruptcy not having resulted in the transfer back to him of the right which had vested in but not been taken up by the trustee. Interestingly, Mr Butcher purported to dismiss the dispute rather than rule that he had no jurisdiction.
The bankrupt appeared unrepresented. Sam Tatarka appeared for the solicitor.
- The Law Institute exercised jurisdiction it didn’t have on receiving a pecuniary loss dispute resolution request from a bankrupt
- Trustee has standing to apply to set aside costs agreement between bankrupt and solicitor
- Woman bankrupted because of solicitor’s failure to attend court suffered no loss
- Barrister leaves claiming the immunity too late to get costs when he wins
- Third party payer taxations where client bankrupt: WASCA