Occasionally, a legal practice either fails to, or is unable to protect the interests of its clients. This might happen because of a lawyer’s alleged improper conduct, insolvency, ill health or death.
In such situations, the Uniform Law gives us the power to take steps to intervene in the operation of the practice to protect client funds and their ongoing legal matters.
Under the Uniform Law, we have the power to appoint a Supervisor to manage a practice’s trust account, or a Manager to take over the management of an entire practice. In certain circumstances, we may also ask the Supreme Court of Victoria to appoint a Receiver to attempt to recover the trust money or trust property of clients.
A Supervisor has the powers and functions of the law practice to manage the practice’s trust money and trust accounts only. A Supervisor is typically appointed where we believe that there are inadequacies in how the law practice has handled and accounted for trust money.
A Supervisor’s duties may include: reconstructing trust records; operating and authorising trust account transactions; implementing suitable and compliant procedures for handling of trust money; and if necessary, giving evidence in civil and/or criminal proceedings arising from the intervention.
A suitably qualified lawyer may be appointed as a Manager of a law practice to allow the law practice to continue to serve its clients.
There are many circumstances where it may be necessary for us to appoint a manager to a law practice, and managers may be appointed to practices that specialise in all areas of the law.
A Manager has the power to supervise the operations of the legal practice (including its employees), and analyse the law practice’s business systems and implement measures necessary to ensure that the practice meets its obligations to its clients, employees and other stakeholders. A Manager also has the power to wind-up the affairs of the law practice, if such action is appropriate.
Where necessary, we can apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria to appoint a Receiver to a law practice. A Receiver may be appointed by the Court where a Supervisor or Manager has previously been appointed and the Court determines that it is appropriate in the circumstances to convert the arrangement into a receivership.
The Receiver uses his or her statutory powers to trace and recover trust money and trust property, and can take all necessary steps to wind up and terminate the affairs of a law practice.
Offers sought – Appointment to External Intervention Panel
We are inviting suitably qualified persons to make an offer for appointment to the Board’s External Intervention Panel (‘the Panel’).
We welcome offers from sole practitioners as well as from partners or principals of other types of practices, and anticipate that the Panel will comprise practitioners from a wide range of practices and with different practice backgrounds. In particular, the Board is interested to receive offers from practitioners with:
- insolvency law experience;
- criminal law expertise; and/or
- capability to take on external interventions into regional law practices,
as a need for these capabilities on the Panel has become apparent in light of recent external interventions.
Applicants should note that external interveners are appointed in their personal capacity. Firms that wish to submit an offer must nominate suitably qualified individuals, but may nominate more than one person to be on the Panel.
Eligible candidates will be will be assessed against evaluation criteria set out in the Request for Offer and invited to accept a proposed Service Agreement between the applicant and the Board.
At the completion of the offer process, successful applicants will be placed on the Panel and may be called upon to provide the services of a Supervisor, Manager or Court-appointed Receiver, as the need arises.
Request for Offer
The Request for Offer can be downloaded from the Buying for Victoria – Tenders Vic Supplier Portal from Friday 25 October 2019. If you are interested in this opportunity, please ensure that you register with Buying for Victoria – Tenders Vic at www.tenders.vic.gov.au. Registration is required in order to access the Request for Offer document and to be kept informed of any changes that may arise in relation to this opportunity.
Offers must be submitted through the Buying for Victoria – Tenders Vic portal by 3:00pm, Friday 22 November 2019.
Offers received after the closing date may be considered at the Board’s discretion only.
For further information, please refer to the Buying for Victoria – Tenders Vic portal or email firstname.lastname@example.org.