LPLC Annual Report 2013/14

14 October, 2014
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Serving the profession

The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) has been insuring the legal practitioners of Victoria since 1986. To engage in legal practice in Victoria, law practices must take out insurance with LPLC.

Pursuant to the Legal Profession Act 2004 LPLC is the insurer to law practices engaging in legal practice in Victoria. It is the successor body to the Solicitors’ Liability Committee.

The Solicitors’ Liability Fund became the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Fund in 1996. The fund is administered by LPLC.

The functions of LPLC are:

  • to provide professional indemnity insurance to law practices
  • to undertake liability under contracts of professional indemnity insurance entered into with law practices
  • any other functions conferred upon it by the Legal Profession Act 2004

LPLC also provides risk management services to law practices.

LPLC has the power to enter into contracts or arrangements relating to insurance and reinsurance.

LPLC is an independent body which reports to the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance of the State of Victoria.

Contents

From the Chairman

LPLC is a unique model which has fulfilled not only its insurance obligations in the management and payment of claims, but also as a risk management resource for the legal profession.

From the CEO

LPLC has seen an excellent return on investment of the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Fund despite continuing volatility in financial markets.

Claims – Solicitors

LPLC has seen a marked increase in the number of larger claims.

Claims – Barristers

June 2014 marked nine years of LPLC insuring Victorian barristers.

Risk Management

A report about LPLC’s role as a provider of world-class information and strategies to assist practitioners avoid risks and minimise their exposure to claims.

Investment returns

The 2013/14 year again yielded a strong return for the fund of 10.9 per cent, marginally below returns generated in 2012/13.

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Information about the Committee that governs LPLC and organisation’s staff.

Supplementary information

Financial report PDF

From the Chairman

In this, my first full year as Chairman of the Committee, I am pleased to report on LPLC’s 28th year as professional insurer to the solicitors of Victoria. It is now 36 years since compulsory professional indemnity insurance was introduced.

It is 20 years since the arrival of single national law practices, many of which insure with LPLC. It is nine years since the Victorian Bar joined LPLC.

In 1985 the Council of the Law Institute of Victoria seized the idea to start a self-insurance scheme. The members of that council could not have contemplated what the then ‘Solicitors’ Liability Committee’ would be today.

As a statutory authority, LPLC is a unique model which has fulfilled not only its insurance obligations in the management and payment of claims, but also as a risk management resource for the legal profession.

It is worth being reminded of the benefits this scheme brings not only to the legal profession but to consumers of legal services by:

  • providing certainty of obtaining cover on wide terms and conditions
  • the extending of that cover beyond retirement and death
  • providing risk management services and resources made possible by the LPLC’s central database with its 28 years of data
  • providing stable moderate premiums.

There is another role LPLC fulfils – namely, in considering the risks posed to the legal profession and clients by changes in the law and changes to practice. This has led to LPLC making submissions, where new and unreasonable risks are created.

LPLC has played a significant role in achieving the best possible outcome for the legal profession in the development of electronic conveyancing. LPLC was well placed to make its submissions, with its knowledge of the risks of conveyancing and mortgages in the paper-based system and how those risks might be managed and ameliorated by the move to electronic conveyancing.

The digital world has brought other significant changes – in particular, it has enabled LPLC to disseminate its risk management material and information quickly via email and maintain a website with comprehensive risk management materials, checklists, bulletins and articles.

There have been some changes to the Committee during the year – namely the appointment of John Corcoran on 9 July 2013 following the death of Matt Walsh in March of 2013.

John brings valuable experience to LPLC, particularly in his past roles as President of the Law Institute, Chairman of the Law Council of Australia and as a former member of the Legal Services Board.

The year saw the retirement of Peter Daly on 30 June 2014 from LPLC. Peter joined in 1998, fulfilling the role as an experienced insurance businessman. He brought new skills and insights to the Committee. He chaired the Investment Committee for many years and brought great professionalism to that role. Peter will be missed not only for this, but also for his good humour and good cheer.

I thank my fellow Committee members, the Chief Executive Officer and staff of LPLC for their diligent work throughout the year.

 

Geoff Rees
Chairman

From the CEO

The reporting year has included a record level of risk management activity.

In September 2013 the new LPLC website went live. It includes all of LPLC’s risk management publications and checklists, which are now searchable by subject. This means that not only are risk management checklists and publications a few clicks away, but specific subjects can be searched across a broad range of LPLC material.

The new website also heralded the introduction of a blog to which practitioners are invited to subscribe and post comments back to LPLC about its current risk management tips.

The adoption of digital delivery for newsletters and bulletins means LPLC risk management warnings and messages as well as information about new postings on the website can be distributed quickly.

Digital technology has also assisted in the insurance renewal. During the reporting period the renewal for the 2014/15 year was again available online together with premium funding. This has certainly made the process of taking out and renewing insurance for the profession significantly streamlined.

During the reporting year LPLC expanded its risk management work into the area of practice management with a series of six half-day seminars titled ’Legal Business Essentials’ and four seminars on costing issues which often lie at the heart of claims.

The year has been a demanding one for claims staff who must deal with claims of increasing complexity. The number of claims incurred for both solicitors and barristers has remained steady; however there has been a significant shift in the annual cost of claims for solicitors mainly as a result of an increasing number of larger claims. After a remarkably steady seven-year period with claims being incurred between $20M and $25M, more recent years have seen an annual cost of claims at $30M, with the current year closing at $40.7M.

For barristers, the cost of claims has remained fairly consistent over the nine-year period that LPLC has insured them, with the 2014 year closing at $1M in incurred claims.

LPLC has seen an excellent return on investment of the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Fund despite continuing volatility in financial markets.

I thank the claims team, headed by Deputy CEO Justin Toohey for its work in ensuring that claims are disposed of as quickly as possible.

The risk management team headed by Heather Hibberd has continued to ensure risk management services have been expanded across the spectrum of those practising as solicitors.

 

Miranda Milne
Chief Executive Officer

Claims – Solicitors

The reporting year has seen a significant increase in the estimated cost of claims for solicitor practitioners, although the increase in the number of claims and notifications has not been significant.

Since 2008 LPLC has seen a marked increase in the number of larger claims (greater than $800,000) across all firm sizes. A contributing factor is the increased complexity of claims, particularly commercial and litigation matters where expenditure on investigation and defence costs is high.

Once again 70 per cent of the incurred claims arose out of conveyancing, mortgage work, commercial work and commercial litigation.

One of the frustrations for LPLC is the repetition of common errors and mistakes made by practitioners in areas such as commercial contract drafting, conveyancing, GST and advising on mortgages and guarantees. However, these repeated errors are made by different practitioners.

The other trend of concern has been an increase in the number of claims arising out of conflict of interest. Most of these claims come from smaller practices acting in property, commercial and mortgage matters.

In the mortgage area, the dominant causes were failing to obtain adequate security when acting for lender clients and deficient advice when acting for mortgagors. The increase in the cost and number of claims arising out of Amadio mortgages is concerning. These are matters where solicitors advise mortgagors who make equity in their properties available to secure loans being made to others – usually a relative.

Property transactions claims were dominated by two main areas. Failing to give relevant advice about property purchases, which would affect their use was one main area and the other was property transfers taking place within families – usually arising from elderly parents transferring property to children, only later to have a falling out and challenge the transfer on equitable grounds. There were also a number of claims arising from defective section 32 statements.

Commercial claims came predominantly from larger firms, which is most likely due to this area of practice comprising a significant part of the work done by larger firms.

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Claims – Barristers

June 2014 marked nine years of LPLC insuring Victorian barristers.

LPLC insured 1,987 barrister practitioners for the reporting year 2013/14, an increase from 1,959 in the prior year.

The number and cost of claims for barristers continued to be in line with historical performance, with estimated claims totalling $1M for the policy year.

Prior year claim estimates for barristers improved overall as a result of a number of matters resolving within existing reserves.

The claims profile for barristers has remained stable since 2005. Barristers do not undertake transactional work for clients and their retainers are limited by the system of briefing through instructing solicitors resulting in both lower incidence and cost of claims.

The areas of practice which have attracted claims for barristers in the nine years they have been insured by LPLC are commercial litigation (40 per cent), personal injury litigation (14 per cent), property disputes (16 per cent) and family law matters (11 per cent). These four areas account for 80 per cent of the cost of claims.

There are two significant causes for these claims. The first is failing to communicate effectively with clients, which includes listening to clients, the way advice is given and interaction with instructing solicitors. The second is failing to identify, analyse and manage the legal issues arising in the course of an engagement.

An emerging area of exposure for barristers as well as solicitors in the past 12 months is the contravention of overarching obligations under the Civil Procedure Act 2010. These obligations are aimed at the just, efficient, timely and cost-effective resolution of civil proceedings and are expressed in broad terms in Part 2.3 of the Act. There is scope under section 29 for compensation orders for financial loss from breach of those obligations or costs orders to be made against practitioners. A body of case law is quickly developing that encourages judges to exercise their discretionary powers under the Act against practitioners whose conduct of civil litigation breaches the Act.

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Risk Management

One of our roles is to provide world-class information and mitigating strategies to assist practitioners avoid risks and minimise their exposure to claims.

LPLC’s Risk Management team continues to build on its commitment to claim prevention by providing an array of educational resources and forums, publications and presentations as well as improving LPLC’s online presence and offering ongoing assistance to our insureds.

Summary of 2013/14

During the year 1,610 practitioners attended LPLC seminars and workshops including:

  • 2013 Risk Management Intensive workshops – 648 attendees over three workshops
  • How much will it cost? Providing accurate estimates to clients workshops with Liz Harris, Harris Cost Lawyers – 180 attendees over four workshops
  • Legal Business Essentials workshops – 268 attendees over six workshops
  • 2014 Regional Risk Management Tour – 514 attendees over 10 workshops.

In addition LPLC provided speakers at 27 external speaking engagements and published risk management material including:

  • Weekly Risk Management Blogs – 38
  • Bulletins and announcements – 6
  • In Checks – 4
  • Law Institute Journal articles – 11.

Conferences and Seminars

2013 Risk Management Intensive

The Risk Management Intensive workshops were held in Melbourne in late July and early August. The presenters were a mixture of LPLC and industry experts. The same program was conducted on three separate days to maximise the opportunity for practitioners to attend.

The topics covered were:

  • What it takes to defend a claim
  • PPSA practicalities
  • Conflicts
  • How to say ‘no’- dealing with difficult clients
  • National electronic conveyancing update
  • The landscape of binding financial agreements
  • Mortgage matters.

The sessions were recorded and free to those who attended. The DVD is also available for purchase from the LPLC website.

Costs workshops

In September and October LPLC conducted four cost workshops in conjunction with Liz Harris of Harris Cost Lawyers titled How much will it cost? Providing accurate estimates to clients. The content of three sessions was tailored to mid-tier firms with the remaining one geared to Victorian-only based practices.

2014 Legal Business Essentials

In February and March LPLC ran its Legal Business Essentials workshops. It was the first time this series of six half-day workshops had been held. The presentations were delivered by industry experts and designed to develop crucial skills and knowledge to assist practitioners build and manage a successful legal practice. Two hundred and sixty-eight practitioners attended the Melbourne-based sessions over the three days.

The topics were:

  • Managing matters
  • How much will it cost? Estimating costs effectively
  • Conscious communication: how to strengthen relationships and avoid getting sued
  • Business strategy and drivers of profitability
  • Managing and developing your people: risks and benefits
  • Will you take the case? Managing work intake and risks throughout the retainer.

2014 Regional Risk Management Tour

Ten half-day seminars were held across regional Victoria from late April to early June. The presentations were given by the LPLC risk managers and were tailored to the specific needs of regional practices.

The topics were:

  • The conflict-free zone
  • PPS predicaments
  • Property problem areas.

The seminars were held in:

•   Mildura           •  Bairnsdale

•   Traralgon       •  Ballarat

•   Wangaratta    •   Shepparton

•   Bendigo         •  Warrnambool

•   Geelong         •  Mt Eliza.

External speaking engagements

Over the 2013/14 year LPLC experts attended external speaking engagements delivering presentations on wide-ranging topics from solicitors certificates/fraud and retainer management to potential pitfalls for ‘P plate’ practitioners and risk management.

LPLC staff spoke at the following locations/events:

  • The College of Law – six
  • Leo Cussen Institute – three
  • Law Institute of Victoria-related – six
  • Law firms – nine
  • other legal forums and interest groups – three.

Publications

Blogs

LPLC launched a weekly risk management blog in August 2013 that discusses current or recurring risk management themes. The blog was emailed directly to subscribers and also posted on the LPLC website. The blogs cover topics ranging from section 32 statements and the PPS Act to preparing wills and cost agreements.

Bulletins and announcements

During the reporting period LPLC published five bulletins to alert practitioners about developments of particular significance in professional risk.

The following bulletins were:

  • November 2013:
    • New Personal Property Securities Hotline and new Personal Property Securities section on the website
  • September 2013:
    • Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cwlth): Sale of Land and the PPS Act
    • Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cwlth): Land Leases and the PPS Act
    • Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cwlth): Sale of Business and the PPS Act
  • July 2013:
    • Fire Services Property Levy Act 2012.

In December LPLC also distributed a postcard to all insureds notifying them the PPSA Transitional Period was ending 31 January 2014.

In Check

Four issues of In Check, LPLC’s quarterly online newsletter, were published in 2013/14. The topics aimed to ensure practitioners stay informed about important developments affecting their professional risk.

The newsletter covered a range of subjects including:

  • LPLC’s new website, blogs and upcoming training seminars
  • Changes to section 32 statements
  • GST queries and changes
  • New Victorian Building Authority
  • New retirement village regulations and factsheets
  • Owner builder changes
  • PPS matters
  • Family finance
  • Wills.

Practice risk guides

LPLC’s practice risk guides are a series of booklets that identify and explain key risks for specific areas of practice. During the reporting period LPLC revised the Small business – big risk practice risk guide that discusses the transactions for the sale of small businesses.

Law Institute Journal articles

LPLC published 11 articles in the Law Institute Journal in 2013/14. The articles provided readers with in-depth risk management advice for all aspects of legal practice.

The topics included:

  • Identity fraud
  • Preparation of wills
  • The PPS Act
  • Pitfalls for vendors
  • Practice management including lawyer supervision
  • Risk management issues when acting for purchasers off the plan.

LPLC website development

In September LPLC’s new website was launched and 181,962 pages were viewed from then until the end of the reporting period.

New website resources and functionality included:

  • risk material in HTML to enhance searchability and navigation
  • new checklists section
  • new seminar papers section
  • new password-protected audio visual training section
  • new videos of Regional Risk Management Tour and the Risk Management Intensive sessions
  • practitioners notified via email (MailChimp) of all new risk management initiatives, bulletins, In Check, seminars, new and revised publications.

Other activities

Hotlines

LPLC provides practitioners three premium services to answer their specific practice area questions.

The GST Hotline is a risk management initiative that has been providing practitioners with expert advice on client-related GST enquiries since 1999. The service received approximately 17 enquiries per month during the reporting period. LPLC’s PPS Hotline answers practitioners’ client-related PPS questions and received between eight and 12 enquiries per month. The Water Hotline answers practitioners’ client-related water unbundling questions.

Investments

The 2013/14 year again yielded a strong return for the fund of 10.9 per cent, marginally below returns generated in 2012/13.

The graph shows investment returns over the last five years.

The asset allocation of the fund remained consistent across the year, with positive returns generated across all asset classes. In particular, Australian and international equities performed well.

Cash on average comprised of a little over 40 per cent of the fund.

Asset allocation is set out in the chart.

During the reporting period the Committee’s managers were:

Australian equities

•   Vanguard

International equities

•   MFS (Massachusetts Financial Services) Investment Management

Property

•   Dexus Wholesale Property Fund

Interest bearing growth alternatives

•   Colonial First State

Cash

•   Cash was invested by way of term deposits with Westpac, ANZ, NAB and Commonwealth Bank.

During the 2013/14 year investment advisers to the Committee were:

•   JANA Investment Advisers from 1 July 2013 to 30 November 2013

•   Towers Watson Australia Pty Ltd from 1 December 2013 to 30 June 2014.

investments

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee Members

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Geoffrey Rees

Chairman

Geoff is a graduate from Melbourne University in law and commerce and is a Law Institute of Victoria accredited business law specialist. He is one of the founding partners of the JRT Partnership.

With a broad commercial and litigation experience, Geoff regularly advises and presents to institutions and their controlled entities on operational risk management strategies.

Geoff is an author for Business Law and General Counsel modules of LexisNexis Practical Guidance.

Geoff is currently the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Melbourne University Sport.

He is also the Representative Director of the University of Melbourne on Uniseed, a $60M preseed technology commercialisation fund of three leading Australian universities. The fund invests in research outcomes from the institutes and manages the early stages of the commercialisation of that research.

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Peter E Daly, AM

Committee Member

Peter has a wealth of experience in the financial industry. He has been President as well as CEO of the Insurance Council of Australia. He is Chair of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and formerly Chairman of Financial Ombudsman Service, AAMI Limited and was Managing Director of Norwich Winterthur Group Limited.

Peter continues to hold a number of directorships with private companies and is also Chairman of Aioi Nissay Dowa Management Australia Pty Ltd and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co Limited. He is a former Deputy Chairman of the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board and the Federal Government Self-Regulation Task Force. Peter is currently Chairman of Australian Landscape Trust.

In 2004 he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to the insurance industry and to the community, particularly through the advancement of alternative dispute resolution and consumer protection.

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Peter Fox

Committee Member

Peter is a practising barrister and a part time Senior Fellow of the Melbourne Law School. He has practised as a commercial lawyer for more than 30 years as a barrister, as a partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, as a senior counsel of the World Bank in Washington DC, and as an overseas service fellow of the Law Council of Australia assigned to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

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John Corcoran

Committee Member

John has a Bachelor of Laws (Monash) and Bachelor of Economics (Monash) as well as being an Accredited Specialist in Business Law (Law Institute of Victoria).

As Chairman and partner as well as former executive partner of Russell Kennedy, John’s areas of practice are commercial property, retirement villages and aged care, business law and securities law.

John is a Recipient of Centenary Medal for services to Australian society and to the law, and in addition to his position as a LPLC committee member he was on the Legal Service Board from 2005 to 2010 and again in 2013. John has been a member of the Mercy Health and Aged Care Board since 2011. He has also been Law Council of Australia President in 2009, Law Institute of Victoria President 2001/02 as well as an Honorary Life Member 2011 and an International Bar Association, London Board Member from 2009 to 2012. John has been named in Best Lawyers’ 2013 ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law and recognised in Best Lawyers’ 2012 for expertise in Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law.

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Mary Radisich

Committee Member

Mary was formerly the Financial Councillor with Southern Peninsula Community Information Centre and previously at Casey Cardinia Legal Service.

She is an experienced mediator and has extensive experience advocating for consumers in the financial services industry and in community affairs.

Mary was manager of the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria and her community involvement has included being a councillor of the City of Knox and a member of the Board of the Angliss Hospital. She was also a member of the Financial and Consumer Rights Council of Victoria for many years.

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Patricia Kelly

Committee Member

Tricia has extensive experience in the financial services industry. She worked for Suncorp/AAMI where her roles included Executive General Manager Strategy & Business Development Personal Insurance and General Manager AAMI New South Wales. Prior to that she was a Director and Executive General Manager Life & Superannuation of Norwich Union Life Australia.

Tricia is a past president and honorary life member of the Insurance Institute of Victoria and a former Director of the Australian Insurance Institute. She is currently a non-executive director of ANSVAR Ltd and of RACV Limited and subsidiary companies.

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Miranda Milne

Executive Member

Miranda was solicitor to the Committee until 1986 and has been CEO since 1996.

Prior to her appointment to the Committee, Miranda engaged in private practice, specialising in litigation and professional indemnity insurance.

Miranda has been a director of the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and a trustee of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. She was also a member of the executive of the Trinity College Foundation. She sits on the Appeals Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Organisational chart

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Org-chart

Goverance

LPLC:

  • manages and conducts the affairs of and is responsible for the organisation and business of LPLC
  • provides professional indemnity insurance for law practices
  • determines the terms of and submits policies of professional indemnity insurance for legal practitioners in Victoria for approval by the Legal Services Board
  • oversees investment of the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Fund
  • develops policy relating to national practice issues and professional indemnity insurance
  • oversees implementation of effective risk management for legal practitioners.

The Audit Committee comprised of Patricia Kelly (Chairman), Mary Radisich and John Corcoran (from 9 July 2013).

The Audit Committee oversees:

  • financial reporting
  • internal risk and control procedures
  • actuarial and reserving functions
  • audit
  • reporting compliance
  • corporate governance
  • conduct of audits, both internal and external
  • finances and budgeting procedures.

The Investment Committee comprised of
Peter Daly (Chairman), Geoff Rees, Peter Fox and Miranda Milne.

The Investment Committee:

  • makes recommendations to LPLC as to benchmarks, asset classes and asset allocation
  • monitors the fund’s investment strategies
  • makes recommendations to the Committee as to the appointment of fund managers and investment advisers.

The Remuneration and Appointments Committee comprised of Patricia Kelly (Chairman) and
Geoff Rees.

The Remuneration and Appointments Committee considers matters pertaining to appointments and remuneration.

governance

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

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Miranda Milne

Chief Executive Officer

The Committee began its operations in January of 1986. Miranda was solicitor to the Committee from May 1986 until October 1996 and has been the Chief Executive Officer since that time.

She previously worked in private practice in the area of insurance litigation, particularly professional indemnity insurance.

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Justin Toohey

Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Justin joined LPLC in 2005 from IBL Ltd where he was employed for four years as National Claims and Risk Manager with the professional indemnity scheme run by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

Prior to 2001, Justin was a partner with Tress Cocks & Maddox specialising in professional indemnity litigation and was a panel solicitor to the Committee conducting the defence of claims against members of the profession for more than 10 years.

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Alex Macmillan

Claims Solicitor

After 17 years in private practice specialising in insurance litigation, Alex joined LPLC on secondment as a partner from Lander & Rogers. She subsequently joined the Committee staff permanently in 1994.

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Bronwyn Hine

Claims Solicitor

Bronwyn joined LPLC in 2006 from the Melbourne office of specialist insurance firm Moray & Agnew.

In the 10 years prior to joining LPLC, Bronwyn worked in private practice in Victoria and South Australia as a professional indemnity solicitor.

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Josh Clutterbuck

Claims Solicitor

Josh joined LPLC in October 2013 after 11 years as a Victorian solicitor in private practice.

Prior to commencing as a claims solicitor, Josh worked in the General Insurance group at Lander & Rogers as a senior associate defending personal injury claims, liability claims generally and class actions.

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Heather Hibberd

Chief Risk Manager

Heather practised as a solicitor for eight years in insurance litigation at Minter Ellison specialising in professional indemnity litigation before joining the Committee on secondment in 1999. She became a permanent member of staff in 2001.

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Matthew Rose

Risk Manager

Matthew joined LPLC after working in risk management roles with the London office of global law firms Clifford Chance and Mayer Brown. Previously, Matthew practised as a senior associate in Minter Ellison’s commercial litigation group.

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Phillip Nolan

Risk Manager

Phil joined LPLC in February 2013 and was formerly a principal at SBA Law. He is chair of the Property Law Committee and PELS Executive and a member of the Dispute Resolution Committee at the LIV as well as chair of the Estate Agents Council and the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution Hardship Relief Board.

Phil is a Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne where he lectures in Property Law to postgraduates and Owned Environments to undergraduates in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

On 18 November 2011 Phil received the Law Institute of Victoria Certificate of Service Award.

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Martin Dohnt

Chief Financial Officer
From 9 December 2013

Martin joined LPLC as Chief Financial Officer in December 2013 and manages the accounting, finance and payroll functions. Martin previously worked in the financial services industry where he held senior finance management positions in credit unions and friendly societies.

Amanda Lam

Financial Controller
Until 24 January 2014

Supplementary information

Legislation administered by the Committee

The Legal Practice Act 1996 – 1 July 2005 to 11 December 2005.

The Legal Profession Act 2004 – 12 December 2005 to 30 June 2014.

Financial management regulations

The information specified in the Financial Management Regulations has been prepared and is available on request to the Attorney-General, Members of Parliament and the public.

Whistleblowers policy statement

Policy

LPLC is committed to the objectives of the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 (WP Act). LPLC recognises the value of transparency and accountability and will support the making of any disclosures pursuant to the guidelines set out in the WP Act, but subject to section 246 of the Legal Practice Act 1996 and section 6.6.13 of the Legal Profession Act 2004.

Compliance with the Building Act 1993

LPLC does not own any buildings and consequently is exempt from notifying its compliance with the building and maintenance provisions of the Building Act 1993.

Categories of documents held by LPLC

  • Applications by legal practitioners for insurance.
  • Assessment notices.
  • Notifications by legal practitioners of claims or circumstances likely to give rise to claims.
  • Board papers and minutes for LPLC and LPLC sub committees.
  • Management records.
  • Administration records.
  • Accounting records.
  • Library material.

Freedom of information

LPLC has received no requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for the reporting period.

Publications

LPLC continues to publish relevant information on its website www.lplc.com.au.

Occupational health and safety

LPLC continued its commitment to OH&S compliance during the reporting period. Three staff members are trained as first aid officers and LPLC has also purchased a defibrillator. All issues relating to safe work place practices are considered and reported at staff meetings. There were no reported OH&S related incidents in the reporting year.

Workforce data

The Committee undertakes an annual performance appraisal and salary review of the CEO. Department managers conduct an annual performance review of their respective direct reports. The CEO conducts an annual performance review of her respective direct reports.

Staff members are able to raise issues privately with the CEO and Office Manager at any time. Alternatively, matters can be raised with the Committee

workforce

 

Environmental issues

In July 2009 LPLC registered with Sustainability Victoria to develop an environmental management plan (EMP). This plan assists LPLC to manage the environmental impact from its day to day business activities.

LPLC staff attended a series of workshops held through Sustainability Victoria’s Resource Smart Government program.

Each area of LPLC’s business was assessed to see where energy was used, resources consumed and how this could be reduced. The task of monitoring this EMP has been allocated to a team within the office.

The plan covers the 2013/14 reporting year.

Energy consumption

LPLC is pleased to report there was a reduction of approximately five per cent energy usage for 2013/14 compared to 2012/13. LPLC will continue with its energy saving initiatives such as using natural light in offices where possible, shutting down computers and printers after hours and only having lights on in the parts of the office where necessary.

LPLC again made a commitment to purchase no less than 20 per cent green power for office requirements which contributed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 14 tonnes of carbon over the 2013/14 reporting period.

Total energy usage was 53,501 kWh compared to 56,163 kWh in 2012/13 and the energy used per unit of office area 86.29 compared to 90.58 in 2012/13. kWh of energy used per FTE was 3343.

The 2014/15 target is to reduce energy usage by at least 10 per cent.

Waste generation

LPLC continues to monitor the levels of waste generated by its operations and staff. Building management continue to provide a commingled recycling service which has assisted greatly in reducing waste generated by LPLC sent to landfill.

LPLC continues to reduce waste generation through recycling of all computer components, CDs, DVDs, used printer cartridges, old dictating equipment, old mobile phones, old landline phones and any other computer peripherals by using a not for profit recycling service, Byte Back.

LPLC continued to recycle close to 90 per cent of its waste for the reporting period.

Paper consumption

LPLC reduced its paper consumption over the reporting period by approximately nine per cent compared to the 2012/13 reporting period. The policies adopted by LPLC in purchasing only printers that are capable of double sided copying, defaulting all communal printers to double sided and using electronic documents instead of paper whenever possible are still policies which are very much adhered to.

A very high percentage of LPLC’s paper and cardboard waste is recycled through a secure paper recycling contractor. LPLC recycled 0.84 tonnes of paper in the reporting period which contributed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 1.2 tonnes of carbon over 2013/14.

Units of paper used per FTE (A4 reams/FTE) – 25.

The target for the 2014/15 year is to reduce the paper consumption by 10 per cent compared to 2013/14, taking into account the increase in producing risk management material in-house.

Transport

LPLC does not operate a fleet of vehicles for business use and has a travel policy which includes the purchase of carbon credits for all air travel undertaken.

Competition policy

Until 11 December 2005 section 227A of the Legal Practice Act provided:

‘For the purposes of the Trade Practices Act 1974 of the Commonwealth and Competition Code, the entering into and performance of a contract of professional indemnity insurance by a person or firm and the Liability Committee under sections 224, 225, 226 or 227 is authorised by this Act.’

From 12 December 2005 section 3.5.5 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 provides:

‘For the purposes of the Trade Practices Act 1974 of the Commonwealth and Competition Code, the entering into and performance of a contract of professional indemnity insurance by a law practice and the Liability Committee under this Part is authorised by this Act.’

Consultants

LPLC engages a number of external consultants each year to provide specialist advice to assist with decision making and risk management programs. During 2013/14 total consultancy expenditure as defined by the Financial Management Act 1994 was approximately $400,191.

Taylor Fry – Actuaries

Taylor Fry is LPLC’s actuary. The expenditure for the reporting period was $57,868. Taylor Fry has been retained as LPLC’s actuary for the 2014/15 reporting period.

Cumpston Sarjeant – Actuaries

LPLC also obtains actuarial advice from Cumpston Sarjeant. The consulting fee paid to this firm for the reporting period was $43,128. Cumpston Sarjeant has been retained for the 2014/15 reporting period.

Derry Devine – Consultant

Derry Devine is the consultant used for LPLC’s GST hotline. The expenditure for the reporting period was $41,000.

Kriss Will Consulting

Kriss Will was retained as an external HR consultant. The expenditure for the reporting period was $18,268.

Context Information Security

Context Information Security was retained to perform an internal and external security assessment and gap analysis on LPLC’s IT system. The expenditure for the reporting period was $14,400.

Modellogic

Modellogic was retained to assist with the development of financial modelling for LPLC. The expenditure for the reporting period was $16,406.

JANA Investment Advisers – until November 2013

JANA was LPLC’s Fund Administrator until November 2013. The project fee approved for the reporting period was $120,000 and the expenditure for the reporting period was $60,000.

Towers Watson – from December 2013

Towers Watson was appointed LPLC’s Fund Administrator from December 2013. The expenditure for the reporting period was $142,000. Towers Watson has been retained for the 2014/15 reporting period.

Contact details

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee
Level 31, 570 Bourke Street
MELBOURNE    VIC   3000

DX 431

ABN: 45 838 419 536

Telephone:           (03) 9672 3800
Facsimile:             (03) 9670 5538

Website: www.lplc.com.au

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