This section provides information for the community about the VLSB+C's views on current issues
Statement regarding referral of conduct of Findlay McRae
30 November, 2020
In its Final Report, the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants has referred the conduct of the Executive Director of Legal Services at Victoria Police, Mr Findlay McRae, to the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner (VLSB+C) for consideration. The referral is made pursuant to section 44 of the Inquiries Act.
VLSB+C confirms communication between the Commissioner, the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, and our office has taken place. In line with section 462 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law, we will not make any further comment at this time.
Correspondence regarding Minter Ellison, DHHS and the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry
28 October, 2020
The Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner confirm receipt of correspondence from Mr Ed O’Donohue MP regarding Minter Ellison, DHHS and the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry. While the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry is underway it would be inappropriate to take action or comment further at this stage. However, we note that the findings of the Inquiry are due to be delivered shortly. After assessing those findings we will make a decision about whether to conduct an investigation into these matters.
If an investigation is commenced, we will not be able to make any further comment.
Apology to Mr Neil Fairley and Karne Group Pty Ltd
10 September, 2020
On page 13 of our 2018-19 Annual Report we refer to the prosecution of Victorian Legal Services Board vs Neil Fairley & Karne Group Pty Ltd.
The report notes that we concluded 16 prosecutions for unqualified legal practice and then lists Mr Fairley & Karne Group as an example of a prosecution.
The report does not clarify that in the case of Mr Fairley & Karne Group the prosecution was unsuccessful and that, according to Magistrate Tan:
- Mr Fairley and Karne Group Pty Ltd had provided information in the normal course of running their business; and
- We could not make out our allegation that they had breached section 10 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) by engaging in legal practice without qualification.
We apologise for any distress the reference in our annual report may have caused Mr Fairley & Karne Group.
Unfounded and vexatious allegations of corruption against VLSB+C by Mr Peter Mericka
02 September, 2020
The Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner are aware of allegations of corruption made against our office by Mr Peter Mericka. We consider these allegations to be unfounded and vexatious and have directed him to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission and the Victorian Ombudsman.
Practising certificates of Norman O'Bryan and Michael Symons
25 August, 2020
The Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner confirm that Norman O’Bryan and Michael Symons no longer have practising certificates and cannot engage in legal practice in Victoria.