Reprimand for non-satisfaction within reasonable time of solicitor’s undertaking

In Legal Services Commissioner v DS [2010] VCAT 1124, a solicitor gave an undertaking but did not comply with it in a reasonable time.  Eventually, she did, paying the money out of here own pocket.  This was the decision in relation to penalty for the finding that she had engaged in professional misconduct:

’21    [The solicitor] personally paid $8,500 from her own pocket and has stated to the Tribunal, that the client was an elderly lady who is in receipt of a disability pension and no recovery of the $8,500 paid by [the solicitor] will be obtained from the client. [The solicitor] has incurred further expense in obtaining legal advice, costs consultants and representation today. It would appear that she has either paid or has been so far liable to pay some $16,500 in all. Again as has been correctly submitted that the purpose of these proceedings is not punishment. The purpose is to maintain regime of protection of the public and maintenance of standards of the profession. In terms of the consequences of this matter [the solicitor] has suffered substantial financial loss and I intend to reprimand [the solicitor] but not impose a monetary fine. The reprimand it should be noted is not a slap on the wrist. The reprimand in a professional environment is a serious matter as indeed is the finding of professional misconduct and in this particular instance I am satisfied that it is appropriate and sufficient to reprimand [the solicitor].’

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