A decision of Senior Member Howell on 31 August 2007 has only just hit the screens: Legal Services Commissioner v IDE  VCAT 2244. A solicitor of 32 years’ standing let a file fester in the too hard basket for too long and then ‘buried his head in the sand’ when the Bureau sent over a ‘please explain’. A clinical psychologist’s report said he had a tendency towards denial. He was remorseful. He did not self-represent. On the other hand, he had been found guilty of delay by a Bureau before. The result: 2 findings of misconduct, a reprimand, a little fine of just $500, plus costs in the order of $2,750, $800 odd of which were costs which the solicitor volunteered to pay the complainant, who had travelled from South Australia. It was said that his demotion from partner of a country firm to employee solicitor was the result of the charge, and so the solicitor had already suffered considerably. Unfortunately, the reasons do not reveal how long the period in which the Bureau was ignored for was.
- Reprimand for non-satisfaction within reasonable time of solicitor’s undertaking
- Yet another sole practitioner ignores the Bureau (yawn)
- VCAT suggests natural justice requires Bureau to wait indefinitely for practitioner’s response
- Once you’ve done your time, prior misconduct not an indicator of fitness to practise
- Misconduct constituted by ignoring the Bureau