Law Mutual (WA) manages claims against a law practice (or practitioners insured) in accordance with its Claims Management Policy.
As stated in the Policy, Law Mutual’s aim in managing claims is to:
- ensure that insureds are financially protected and able to continue to offer legal services; and
- compensate the consumers of legal services for loss caused by its insureds professional negligence.
An insured can report a claim, or notify circumstances that may give rise to a claim, by downloading and submitting a Notification of Claim or Circumstance Form. We will do our best to ensure the notification is handled as swiftly and efficiently as possible to avoid further distress.
Law Society members are reminded that they also have complimentary access to the Ethical Guidance Panel. The Panel provides practitioners with access to experienced colleagues who have indicated their willingness to be available to confidentially discuss professional conduct and ethical issues. This includes providing advice regarding conflict of interest issues where circumstances exist that may give rise to a claim.
For more information please call us on (08) 9481 3111.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is insured?
- the Legal Practice and each Partner in the Legal Practice shown in the Schedule for attachment to the Certificate and each former Partner;
- each predecessor of the Legal Practice and each Partner in each predecessor of the Legal Practice;
- each person employed or engaged, or previously employed or engaged, on a paid or unpaid basis, in connection with the Legal Practice or predecessor of the Legal Practice, including any trainee, volunteer, part-time, seasonal, temporary, or work experience personnel, a practical legal trainee, or legal practitioner performing Restricted Legal Practice for the purpose of attaining Required Experience, but not including a Consultant;
- each Consultant provided that: a. at the time of any act, error or omission giving rise to a Claim, the Consultant was under the direct control and supervision of the Legal Practice or predecessor of the Legal Practice or a Partner of the Legal Practice or partner of the predecessor of the Legal Practice; b. the act, error or omission giving rise to the Claim occurred in the course of or arose out of the services provided by the Consultant pursuant to the Consultant contract.
- the estate or the legal representatives of each person included in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3; and
- each service or administration company or trust connected with the Legal Practice to the extent that its activities are carried out exclusively in connection with the Practice.
What is insured?
Up to the Limit of Liability (currently $2,000,000 and $1,500,000 for 2007/2008 and years prior) for:
- any amount payable by the Insured to a Claimant (including Claimant’s Costs) in respect of any kind of civil liability incurred in connection with the Practice for any Claim first made against the Insured during the Period of Insurance; and
- Related Costs with respect to that Claim.
What is not insured?
- a liability which arises out of facts or circumstances that might give rise to a Claim that were notified to an insurer or a mutual fund prior to the Period of Insurance;
- a liability which arises directly out of facts that might give rise to a Claim of which the Insured was aware or ought reasonably to have been aware before 1 July 1995 or in the case of a Barrister, before 30 June 2010;
- a liability which arises directly out of an act or omission of a Practitioner who is not a Partner in, an employee of, or directly contracted by, a Legal Practice located wholly or partly in Western Australia;
- a liability which arises directly or indirectly out of the Insured acting as a public officer, company director, company secretary or other company officer (other than a claim arising from the Legal Practice’s provision of legal services through any of its directors or officers who are Practitioners);
- the Insured’s Contribution;
- the contribution by the Law Society out of the Law Mutual Fund pursuant to clause 3.2 of the Master Policy or by the Insurers pursuant to clause 4.2 of the Master Policy;
- a liability which arises directly or indirectly out of the performance or non-performance of a contract other than a contract by the Insured to provide legal services in connection with the Practice;
- a liability to repay to a client fees or disbursements (other than the fees of experts and counsel) charged by the Insured to the client;
- a liability for costs incurred by the Insured in relation to a dispute about fees or disbursements charged by the Insured to a client;
- a liability for damages for death or injury other than mental distress or anxiety arising out of legal services provided by the Insured in connection with the Practice;
- a liability for physical loss or damage to property, unless the property was in the care, custody and control of the Insured in connection with the Practice and for which the Insured is responsible, not being property occupied or used by the Insured for the purposes of the Practice;
- the payment of a trading debt incurred by the Insured;
- a liability brought about by the dishonest or fraudulent act or omission of an Insured, but this exclusion will not apply to:
- the liability of an Insured or former Insured not engaged in or knowingly connected with the dishonest or fraudulent act or omission, where the dishonest or fraudulent act or omission occurred after 30 June 1999; or
- a liability brought about by the dishonest or fraudulent act or omission of a person employed in connection with the Practice.
- this exclusion shall only apply once the dishonesty or fraudulent act or omission has been established by express admission, court judgment or other final adjudication;
- the provisions of clause 12 of this Certificate will apply;
- notwithstanding subclauses 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 above, the Insurers shall not be liable to indemnify the Insured for any amount payable under a Guarantee Fund or analogous fidelity fund, nor for any Claim made by any Guarantee Fund or analogous fidelity fund;
- a liability for any:
- civil penalty;
- punitive, exemplary, aggravated, additional or like damages; or
- costs or expenses incurred or ordered to be paid by an Insured in connection with a complaint against, or investigation into, the professional misconduct of an Insured;
- a liability directly or indirectly caused by or contributed to by, or arising from, ionising radiation or contamination by radioactivity from any nuclear fuel or from any nuclear waste from the combustion of nuclear fuel;
- a liability directly or indirectly caused by or contributed to by, or arising from, the radioactive toxic explosive or other hazardous property of any explosive nuclear assembly or nuclear component;
- a liability which arises from war, invasion, acts of foreign enemies, hostilities (whether war is declared or not), civil war rebellion, revolution, insurrection, military or usurped power;
- a liability for any costs awarded against an Insured where the Insured is not a party to proceedings, but is acting on behalf of a party to proceedings;
- a liability incurred by an Insured in his or her capacity as an insurance agent;
- a liability arising out of death, injury, illness, loss, damage, cost or expense directly or indirectly caused by, contributed to by, resulting from or arising out of or in connection with:
- an Act Of Terrorism regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any other sequence to the loss; or
- an action in controlling, preventing, suppressing, retaliating against, or responding to any Act Of Terrorism;
- a liability arising out of an actual or alleged liability whatsoever for a Claim in respect of loss or losses directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or in consequence of, or in any way involving asbestos, or any materials containing asbestos in whatever form or quantity other than where such liability is in relation to provision of professional services as a legal practitioner;
- any Claim directly or indirectly based upon, attributable to, or in consequence of insolvency, bankruptcy or liquidation of an Insured;
- a liability in relation to a dispute between:
- the Partners;
- shareholders of the Legal Practice if it is an Incorporated Legal Practice; or
- Partners and shareholders of the Legal Practice if the Legal Practice is an Incorporated Legal Practice;
- a liability in relation to an employment related dispute brought by an employee of a Legal Practice against the Insured;
- a liability which arises directly or indirectly out of an Insured being:
- an Exempt Practitioner or a Partner or employee of an Exempted Firm;
- a Partner or employee of a Legal Practice conducted in Western Australia and at least one other State or Territory prior to or during the Period of Insurance, if the Insured is entitled to claim under another mutual fund or insurance policy for the same liability, and such liability arose predominantly from an act or omission committed by a person or persons who was or were, at the time of the act or omission:
- residing in; or
- a resident or residents of, a Territory or State other than Western Australia.
When should I notify Law Mutual (WA)?
An Insured must give written notice of a Claim first made against the Insured during the Period of Insurance as soon as reasonably practicable after the Claim is made. It is also prudent and Insureds are strongly urged to notify Law Mutual (WA) of any circumstances that might give rise to a claim against the Insured.
If you have any queries in relation to notifications of circumstances or Claims, please call the Manager –Claims on (08) 9324 8626.