Experienced private practitioner appointed Legal Services Commissioner

The Acting Legal Services Commissioner, Michael McGarvie, has been appointed Legal Services Commissioner. A photo published in 2004 may be found here. The government’s press-release is mirrored here. Mr McGarvie is very much from the profession’s private practice sector, and used to the realities of dealing with punters; he was for a long time a partner in the plaintiffs’ personal injury practice at Holding Redlich until he went to the Supreme Court as its CEO in 2006, where he oversaw a period of considerable change.  His wife is a lawyer with a plaintiff’s firm, and he is the brother of Richard McGarvie QC and the sister of Ann McGarvie who is, amongst other things, a sessional member of VCAT, the tribunal in which Mr McGarvie will continue to bring disciplinary prosecutions of lawyers.  His father, the late Richard McGarvie was a Supreme Court judge and Governor of Victoria.

Although it might be said that partners of plaintiffs’ lawyers firms are taking over the law (the Law Institute’s CEO, Michael Brett Young, was formerly Managing Partner of Maurice Blackburn, and the Victorian Government Solicitor, John Cain also hailed from there), I suspect that the appointment will be regarded by the predominantly conservative profession more favourably than the appointments of Kate Hamond or Victoria Marles before him.

When the Commissioner’s website is updated with Monday’s news, Mr McGarvie’s official profile will presumably be posted here.  Mr McGarvie takes the post at a time when widespread dissatisfaction with the Commissioner’s office has found a focal point in one of the scathing reports of Victorian regulators the Ombudsman is not backwards in coming forwards with.  A key problem to be addressed will undoubtedly be the glacial pace at which investigations proceed.

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