Assistance with Complaints to Legal Profession Complaints Committee
The Western Australian Bar Association Referral Service was established by the Bar Association to provide advice to practitioners who are the subject of complaint to the Legal Profession Complaints Committee and the State Administrative Tribunal.
A register of silks and senior juniors who are prepared not to charge to advise practitioners is maintained by the Bar Association.
The scope of the assistance provided without charge under the Referral Service is usually limited to consideration of the relevant papers and the provision of advice in conference as to the practitioner’s problem.
In some circumstances, the barrister advising the practitioner may also be prepared to provide additional assistance such as assisting the practitioner with correspondence with the Legal Profession Complaints Committee, representation for the purposes of conferral with the Legal Profession Complaints Committee and representation in proceedings before the State Administrative Tribunal.
Where additional assistance is provided, what, if any, fee arrangements are to be put in place is a matter for the practitioner and the barrister to discuss and agree. In some circumstances the barrister may be prepared to act without charge or to agree a reduced fee for the provision of the additional services.
In recent times the calls on the resources of the Referral Service have been extensive.
While any practitioner facing a complaint from the Legal Profession Complaints Committee is encouraged to contact the Referral Service and all appropriate efforts will be made to provide assistance, practitioners facing a complaint from the Legal Profession Complaints Committee should also give consideration to alternatives to the use of the Referral Service, such as seeking advice directly from a barrister or other senior practitioner with whom the practitioner has an existing relationship or, particularly in a serious case, engaging appropriate legal representation in the conventional way.
The Referral Service is administered by the Vice President of the WA Bar Association, who may be contacted through the Executive Officer, Debbie Cole, at Francis Burt Chambers on (08) 9220 0477.
It is not necessary to be a member of the Law Society of WA to use the Referral Service. The Referral Service is available to all members the profession.
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