Professional Negligence Lawyer - Negligent Solicitor or Barrister Compensation Claim
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
Members of the legal profession (lawyers, solicitors, legal practitioners, attorneys, barristers, junior counsel, Senior Counsel, SCs, Queen's Counsel, QCs) owe their clients a duty to act with reasonable care and skill.
If a legal professional has mishandled your matter, you have the right to make a complaint to the relevant Commission or disciplinary body in your State or Territory. In some circumstances, you may also be able to sue for compensation for breach of contract or through the law of negligence.
Our solicitors are specialists at handling professional negligence claims against other legal professionals. If you would like to find out whether you can claim compensation for financial loss as a result of your lawyer's negligence, incompetence, overcharging, unreasonable delays, wrong advice or professional misconduct, you should call our helpline or complete the online Contact Form.
Our service is confidential and free to use. Do not delay in seeking legal advice, as time limits apply to compensation clams for professional negligence.
Consumer disputes regarding legal services typically involve complaints about poor communication, costs, mistakes, delays, handling of documents and poor service. Some of these disputes can be readily resolved by speaking directly with your solicitor or the Principal solicitor of the firm. If that fails, you have the option of reporting your solicitor to the relevant authority.
Disciplinary authorities may arrange for dispute resolution or mediation, and the outcome might be an agreement as to costs, an apology or an explanation, or work performed by the solicitor at no charge to fix the mistake.
If a complaint involves allegations of misconduct, the complaint will be investigated by the relevant authority. The complaint may be dismissed or disciplinary action may be taken.
A solicitor or barrister can be found guilty of "unsatisfactory professional conduct" or "professional misconduct". The latter is a more serious type of misconduct :
"Unsatisfactory professional conduct" is conduct (whether consisting of an act or omission) occurring in connection with the practice of law that falls short of the standard of competence and diligence that a member of the public is entitled to expect of a reasonably competent practitioner.
"Professional misconduct" is defined as :
(a) unsatisfactory professional conduct of an Australian legal practitioner, where the conduct involves a substantial or consistent failure to reach or maintain a reasonable standard of competence and diligence, and
(b) conduct of an Australian legal practitioner whether occurring in connection with the practice of law or occurring otherwise than in connection with the practice of law that would, if established, justify a finding that the practitioner is not a fit and proper person to engage in legal practice.
Additionally, the common law defines professional misconduct to be conduct in pursuit of the practice of law which would be reasonably regarded as disgraceful or dishonourable by professional brethren of good repute and competency.
If a solicitor's conduct has resulted in financial loss to you, you may in certain circumstances be able to claim compensation.
A legal practitioner has a duty to provide legal services with reasonable care and skill. A legal practitioner who fails to do this may be in breach of their duty of care to the client. Courts have determined that negligence is a form of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct only when it goes beyond "mere carelessness" or "mere negligence". One example of solicitor negligence is the giving of wrong legal advice which results in financial loss to the client.
If you want compensation from a legal practitioner you will have to take private legal action against the practitioner for professional negligence. If you need legal advice on whether you can sue for negligence, contact our helpline or complete the online contact form.
The following are examples of conduct which may amount to "unsatisfactory professional conduct" or "professional misconduct" or negligence, depending on the circumstances of the case :
- breaches of the Legal Profession Rules;
- charging excessive legal costs;
- giving wrong advice;
- failure to follow instructions (due to poor communication, for example);
- conduct for which there is a conviction for a serious offence or a tax offence or an offence involving dishonesty;
- improper conduct in relation to practice, clients, the courts, legal aid, or to a professional association.
- acting when personal interests conflict with those of clients;
- unauthorised investment or use of clients money;
- making false statements to clients or to the court;
- attempting to suborn a witness;
- swearing an affidavit containing false statements;
- negligent delays;
- failing to keep clients informed of the state of their affairs;
- failing to keep proper accounts and receipt books;
- failing to honour an undertaking given to another lawyer;
- a failure to adequately supervise an employee such as a conveyancing clerk;
- threatening, abusive or offensive language;
- fraud or misappropriation.
To lodge a complaint about the conduct of a solicitor or barrister, you will need to contact the relevant authority in your State. These authorities will provide you with complaints forms and assistance on how to complete and lodge those forms. You will not be given legal advice by these authorities.
If you need legal advice, our team can help you. You should consider taking legal advice if your lawyer's conduct has cost you financially or resulted in some other loss or damage. You may be entitled to compensation for negligence or breach of contract.
To find out about your rights to professional negligence compensation call our helpline or complete the online contact form. Please note that our service currently operates Australia-wide except for the Northern Territory.
To lodge a complaint against a solicitor or barrister, contact the authority in your State or Territory :-
- New South Wales
Office of the Legal Services Commissioner
75 Castlereagh Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
GPO Box 4460
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Telephone (02) 9377 1800
Facsimile (02) 9377 1888
Freecall: 1800 242 958 (Australia only)
TTY (02) 9377 1855
Legal Services Commissioner – Victoria
Level 9, 330 Collins Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000
GPO Box 492
Melbourne VIC 3001
Phone: 03 9679 8001
OR 1300 796 344 (local call Australia-wide)
Legal Services Commission (LSC) – Queensland
307 Queen Street
Brisbane Qld 4000
PO Box 10310
Brisbane Adelaide Street Qld 4000
Phone: 3406 7737 (Brisbane)
1300 655 754 (outside Brisbane—cost of a local call)
133 677 (if you require the use of the National Relay Service)
131 450 (if you require a translator/interpreter)
Fax: (07) 3406 7749
- South Australia
Legal Practitioner’s Conduct Board (LPCB) - South Australia
Level 3, 33 Franklin Street
Adelaide SA 5000
GPO Box 230,
Adelaide SA 5001
Telephone: 08 8212 7924 / 1800 337 570 (Toll free)
Fax: 08 8231 0747
- Western Australia
Legal Practice Board of Western Australia
Legal Practitioners Complaints Committee
2nd Floor Colonial Building, 55 St George's Terrace,
PERTH WA 6000
Post Office Box Z5293,
St George's Terrace,
PERTH WA 6831
Phone: (08) 9461 2299
Fax: (08) 9461 2265
Legal Profession Board of Tasmania
Level 3, 147 Macquarie Street
GPO Box 2335
Hobart TAS 7000
Telephone: 03 6226 3000
Facsimile: 03 6223 6055
- Australian Capital Territory
ACT Law Society - Complaints Committee
Level 3, 11 London Circuit
Canberra City ACT 2601
GPO Box 1562
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Ph: (02) 6247 5700
Fx: (02) 6247 3754
- Northern Territory
The Law Society Northern Territory
Ground Floor, Beagle House
38 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800
GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801
Phone: 08 8981 5104
Fax: 08 8941 1623
Professional Negligence Solicitors
If you would like legal advice from a professional negligence solicitor as to whether you are eligible for compensation you should contact our legal team for legal advice at no cost. Legal representation may be available on a No Win No Fee basis.
Call our free helpline or complete the online contact form for further information and legal advice.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here