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We manage a compensation scheme called the Fidelity Fund for clients who have lost money or property because of the dishonest or fraudulent behaviour of a lawyer, an employee of a law practice or an approved barrister’s clerk.
The Fidelity Fund receives revenue through its own holdings and investments, as well as through annual contributions from solicitors, community legal centres and approved barristers’ clerks which are licensed to deal with trust money.
If you have lost money or property
If you have lost money or property that was held in trust, you may be entitled to compensation. You can make a claim for compensation under certain circumstances (see below). Please contact us and ask to speak to a Fidelity Fund claims officer.
Further information about the compensation scheme is available from the following pages:
You can also download the information sheet on Making a claim against the Fidelity Fund.
Compensation – How and when to make a claim
You may be entitled to compensation if you have lost money or property after a lawyer, an employee of a law practice or an approved barrister’s clerk has dealt with your money or property in a dishonest or fraudulent manner.
Before you can make a claim for compensation, you must first discuss your claim with a Fidelity Fund claims officer. If your claim is one we can accept, we will send you a claim form to complete and explain the claims process.
Please also ensure that you have read the fact sheet Making a claim against the Fidelity Fund.
The claim form will collect information to help us decide on your claim. We may also ask you for more information or evidence of your loss at a later date. This might include documents or statements which help support your claim. We may disallow your claim if you do not provide the information or evidence we ask for.
You may choose to hire a lawyer to help you make your claim for compensation.
When to make a claim
The law sets a six-month time limit for making a compensation claim. You therefore have six months to make a claim after you become aware that you have suffered a loss.
If you do not make a claim within that six month claim period, we may extend the timeframe to allow you to make your claim. You would need to give us full details of why it is late. We can investigate a late claim if we are satisfied with your reasons.
If we do not accept your late claim, you are entitled to apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria to have the statutory timeframe extended.
How much can be claimed
There is no limit to how much you can claim in compensation. Where we find that a claim is payable, we will assess the information and decide on the amount to pay you.
Legal costs and fees
There are no fees for making a claim for compensation.
If you engaged a lawyer to make a claim on your behalf, you will usually be billed by that lawyer for their work. If your claim is partially or wholly successful, we may agree to pay some or all of those legal costs.
Special circumstances may cause us to allow a claim but decide not to pay any legal costs. If this occurs, we will explain to you why. We may also disallow your claim but decide to pay part or all of your legal costs if we consider it appropriate to do so.
If we decide to pay any part of your legal costs, we will have those costs independently assessed. You should discuss what this means with your lawyer. Any payments for legal costs will be made directly to your lawyer.
For more information, please refer to the fact sheets Payment of your legal costs when making a claim against the Fidelity Fund or Payment of your client's legal costs when making a claim against the Fidelity Fund.
Unless there are special circumstances, we may pay you interest on your loss. This would be calculated from the time that you made your claim up until to the time we finalised your claim. For claims made on or after 1 July 2015, interest is paid at a simple rate of 5%.