In Michaels v Daley  VCAT 1205, Senior Member Howell advised that:
’12 It usually is an implied term of the engagement of a legal practitioner, at hourly rates, that the work will be performed efficiently. It is an implied term of the kind that “goes without saying”, to adopt the phrase used by the Privy Council in B.P. Refinery (Westernport) Pty Ltd v Shire of Hastings (1978) 52 ALJR 20 @ 26. It goes without saying that a client does not agree to a practitioner acting inefficiently, by spending an excessive amount of time performing legal work, only to be rewarded for every hour of inefficiency.’
Who knew? Breach of the implied duty no doubt carries an entitlement to damages, and every suit for fees can be turned into a taxation, so long as ‘efficiently’ means the same as the concept of ‘necessary or proper’ in the law of taxation.
- Duty to follow client’s instructions implied into solicitor’s retainer
- No term implied into retainer to comply with the Legal Practice Act, 1996
- Solicitor uses VCAT’s civil jurisdiction successfully to sue for fees
- Once the time for taxation runs out, the solicitor can sue on the bill as a simple debt
- What quality of work defences are available in a suit for fees where client did not seek taxation?