In Legal Services Commissioner v RMB  VCAT 170, the Bureau de Spank prosecuted a Fitzroy sole practitioner who had studiously ignored a complaint for nearly 11 months. The solicitor finished up paying just $2,500 including costs. Again, the Commissioner is to be commended for keeping costs low ($1,500) by sending along one of her complaint handlers, Anita Spitzer. The solicitor had no good excuse for her impertinence, but was given a discount for never having been found guilty of a disciplinary offence before (a status no doubt shared by 99% of practitioners), and, no doubt, for admitting the allegations.
It is unacceptable that complainants should be kept waiting for a year before anything happens on their complaint. Practitioners know that the Commissioner does not get around to prosecuting for many months: you can effectively buy a year’s grace, with a commensurate depression of the complainant’s enthusiasm. The legislation should be amended to provide for an escalating fine of $1,000 a month for ignoring the Bureau. I must be reaching middle age; I really think this mandatory sentencing regime is the answer.
- VCAT suggests natural justice requires Bureau to wait indefinitely for practitioner’s response
- Misconduct constituted by ignoring the Bureau
- A little fine for ignoring the Bureau de Spank
- Tariff up for not responding to demand for information by Bureau de Spank
- Morwell solicitor to pay $5,500 for ignoring Bureau de Spank