Cost disputes and service issues
Under the Uniform Law the Commissioner has the power to make binding determinations in consumer matters where disputes over legal costs are below $10,000.
In situations where the disputing parties have reached a stalemate and cannot agree on what amount should be paid, the Commissioner has the power to determine what costs are fair and reasonable under the relevant circumstances. The Commissioner will generally first refer such matters for a costs review. The outcome of the costs review will often form the basis of what the Commissioner determines to be fair and reasonable legal costs.
The Commissioner is also able to make a determination that a lawyer or law practice associate has engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct. These determinations may result in the Commissioner ordering the lawyer or law practice to redo the work; apologise or undertake either counselling, supervision or further training. The Commissioner may also issue a the lawyer or law practice with a caution or a reprimand or order that compensation is paid (under certain circumstances).
All Determinations made by the Commissioner are now available via the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).