RPA News Blog - Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

RPA News

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.


Results for 2019 end of trust year EE Reports December 13, 2019

Of the nearly 2000 reports lodged this year, 63% showed minor or no trust accounting breaches, while the remaining 37%, (750 reports) identified more serious issues. This latter figure grew by 3% on last year’s total, which we attribute to both an increase in the number of reports lodged, and to improvements in the quality of reporting as we continued to evolve our reporting systems.

To assist you in preparing their reports, we made changes to the reporting questions in LSB Online and improved our explanatory notes. We also hosted a seminar (Canaries in the Coal Mine) to reinforce the valuable role that you have in regulating trust accounts and identifying trust account issues early.

We followed up on all reports where more serious issues were identified. Examples of the actions we took to address serious issues includes:

  • seven full investigations carried out for practices where very serious concerns were identified;
  • three cases where restrictions on the law practice principal’s practising certificate were considered;
  • around 100 visits to practices where reports indicated a medium level of risk (a lower number than in previous years);
  • 150 desktop audits completed by firms for less serious issues; and
  • ten cases where we recommended the lawyers engage a bookkeeper.

Below is an overview of the types of breaches you have identified in you reports over the past five years.

Report outcomes 2019 2018 2017 2015 2014
General trust accounting breach 29 22 25 21 5
Controlled money breach 17 17 45 N/A* N/A*
Deficiencies in a trust ledger 257 151 228 183 11
Unrestored deficiency at the end of the year 35 38 48 56 N/A*
Some interesting statistics          
Reports lodged 1996 1927 1816 1648 1562
Principal is sole executor of an estate 553 582 569 253 214
Practices keeping manual records 27% 28% 33% N/A* N/A*

* Information was not collected in previous years

The sexual harassment survey has now closed September 25, 2019

Thank you to everyone who completed our survey on sexual harassment in Victorian legal workplaces.

The survey closed at midnight on Monday, 9th of September and we were able to hear from people in all walks of the profession, from current and former lawyers to administrative staff to law students as well as other support staff working in the law.

The response to the survey has been pleasing and it indicates (more…)

Recent Human-centred Design Workshops Held

Three tailor-made workshops with design specialists were held monthly across March, April and May this year to assist those interested in learning how to use a human-centred design approach in their project and identify practical ways to achieve the impact they seek. (more…)

About the 2019 Grants Round

The 2019 Grants round prioritised funding around the theme of Designing Justice Differently: Using human-centred design and technology.

This means that applications had to meet the theme requirements of using technological and/or human-centred design orientated interventions to interrupt, streamline or change legal services and the justice system to improve access to justice.  (more…)

Lawyers: Time to apply to renew your practising certificate March 18, 2019

It is now time to apply to renew your practising certificate if you intend to continue to engage in legal practice in Victoria from 1 July 2019.

If you hold a current practising certificate, look for the email from the Victorian Legal Services Board dated 18 March 2019, providing directions for how to apply to renew your practising certificate. Please read this email carefully.

Deadlines

The deadline for applying to renew your practising certificate is 30 April 2019. Applications made after this date will be subject to a late application surcharge. Please apply to renew as soon as possible, as all current practising certificates will expire on 1 July 2019.

You can log in to LSB Online using your Practitioner Number, which was included in the Board’s email to you. To make applications easier, LSB Online can now be accessed and applications completed using your mobile device.

Need help?

Visit the Board’s website for assistance with completing your renewal.

Sexual harassment in the legal profession February 6, 2019

In 2019 the Board and Commissioner are embarking on a long-term program focussing on addressing sexual harassment within the legal profession.

Research done by the Australian Human Rights Commission shows that one in five Australians were sexually harassed in the workplace in the past 12 months. We know the legal profession is not immune to such behaviour. (more…)