Researchers from Federation University Australia have received funding from the Victorian Legal Services Board to explore the requirements of people with complex communication needs when interacting with the criminal and civil justice system. (more…)
RPA News is a blog published by the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner. It is used to inform the lawyers and the public about the following:
- changes to the regulatory regime, including legislation and regulations
- disciplinary decisions handed down by VCAT or the courts
- special events and public announcements
- new resources available on this website, and
- any other information we believe is relevant to lawyers and the public.
Please note: blog entries discussing disciplinary action are published by the Commissioner in line with the Commissioner’s long-standing objective to educate the legal profession. By publicising disciplinary outcomes, the Commissioner intends for lawyers to compare their conduct and business practices with those highlighted by VCAT and the courts. This will in turn assist lawyers to comply with the requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Law and the expectations of consumers and the wider legal profession.
A Melbourne sole practitioner, who falsified his credentials when applying for a job, has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner brought two charges of professional misconduct against Mr Matthew Karakoulakis after an investigation discovered he had falsified his resume when applying for a job in 2014.
The Commissioner told the Victorian Civil (more…)
A Mornington Peninsula solicitor has been suspended from legal practice for five months after charging an elderly client almost $100,000 in commissions without entitlement or the client’s consent.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found sole practitioner, Mr Peter Ng of HMK Legal, had charged his client commissions for managing her financial assets, but had failed to inform her that he was charging commissions.
In 2007 Mr Ng prepared an (more…)
A Barwon Heads resident, who lied about having legal qualifications when advising a woman in a criminal law matter, has been found guilty of unqualified legal practice.
The Geelong Magistrates’ Court found Mr Kurt Reiter had no legal qualifications, despite his assurances to his client that he was legally trained and had ‘never lost in court’.
In prosecuting the charges, the Victorian (more…)
The Board and Commissioner have published an overview of the proactive legal regulatory tools used in Victoria. It covers topics such as risk-based regulation, dispute resolution, the Commissioner’s use of determination powers under the Legal Profession Uniform Law, and the Board’s policy on disclosing mental health conditions. (more…)
A Bacchus Marsh sole practitioner, with a legal career spanning almost 70 years, has been found guilty of misappropriating his client’s trust money.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Mr Alexander Koltay, formerly of the law practice Koltay & Myers, had spent $25,000 of his client’s trust money on personal expenses over a period of time. (more…)
The Victorian Legal Services Board’s 2016 Grants recipients have been announced.
On Tuesday 30 August 2016 the Attorney-General, The Hon. Martin Pakula MP, announced $3 million in funding had been allocated by the Board for 16 projects across Victoria.
Solicitor to be referred for strike-off after tax convictions and failure to comply with court orders August 12, 2016
The Supreme Court will be asked to consider whether solicitor, Mr Morris George Henderson, should be struck off the roll of legal practitioners after being found guilty of extensive tax avoidance and failure to comply with Court orders.
In 2011 the Magistrates’ Court found Mr Henderson guilty of (more…)
A solicitor who misled the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner about the circumstances of a loan, and unlawfully borrowed $20,000 from a client, has undertaken to never again seek to practice law.
Mr Gary Needham pleaded guilty before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to two counts of misconduct (more…)
The Board has released a report into the development of the health-justice partnerships funded as part of the Board’s 2014 Grants round.
The report was compiled by the Board’s Grants Program in association with Dr Liz Curran of the Australian National University.
The report can be downloaded here. (1.6MB PDF)
The Board’s Grants program has produced the following video, illustrating the benefits to the community of integrating health and legal service providers within the one location.
The Victorian Legal Services Board is pleased to congratulate the Domestic Violence Resource Centre (DVRC) on winning the inaugural Victorian Premier’s iAward for Innovation. The award was presented to the DVRC for their SmartSafe+ app at the Australian Information Industry Association Awards on 29 June.
DVRC developed SmartSafe+ as a free app to help (more…)
RPA News bulletin #28 is available for download (400KB PDF). This edition covers the fiduciary duties executors have to beneficiaries to an estate, what constitutes ‘fully informed consent’ from a beneficiary and claiming a commission from an estate.
‘Breathtakingly foolish’: Solicitor changed court document date to explain missed hearing June 8, 2016
A solicitor who amended the date on a court document to provide an excuse for him missing a hearing has had his practising certificate cancelled for 12 months.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Mr John Mingos guilty of two charges of common law misconduct and one of professional misconduct. It found Mr Mingos had changed the date on an Advice of Hearing issued by the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court, and then used that document to mislead his former client, as well as (more…)
RPA News bulletin #27 is available for download (372KB PDF). This edition covers the importance of law practices ensuring their employee solicitors have a current practising certificate.
A Pascoe Vale solicitor whose law practice issued court proceedings on behalf of a smash repair customer without obtaining instructions has been found guilty of three charges of misconduct.
Mr Nicholas Logan was the former Legal Director and only solicitor of the incorporated legal practice, Express Legal, when the firm purported to act for the owner of a vehicle which received minor damage caused by the owner’s son-in-law.
The vehicle owner signed a document at a smash repairer which included (more…)
A South Yarra solicitor has been found guilty of professional misconduct after withdrawing money from a trust account without consent.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard Mr Nick Galatas had acted for the husband in a family law matter and was holding money in his trust account on behalf of both the husband and the wife.
VCAT heard that Mr Galatas had undertaken (more…)
The Legal Services Council has made a new anti-voiding Rule.
The Legal Profession Uniform General Amendment (Costs Disclosure) Rule 72A removes a concern held by some law practices that their costs agreements will be (more…)
The most recent RPA email bulletin distributed by the Board and Commissioner dealt with reasonable and proportionate costs and a lawyer’s overarching obligations under the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic). This bulletin generated some requests for further advice about what steps a practitioner might take where a client seeks to litigate a matter on principle with no regard to costs consequences. The following post aims to provide further guidance on that matter. (more…)