LPLC Annual Report 2014/15

12 October, 2015
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From the Chairman

Next year, LPLC reaches another milestone – 30 years as the professional indemnity insurer for Victorian legal practices and the insurer to many national law firms. What started out as an experiment in ‘self-insurance’ for legal practitioners, became a model soon followed in all other states, except Tasmania. LPLC was one of the first ‘self-insurers’ in the common law world and indeed remains the only statutory insurer of legal practitioners.

2015 also marks the tenth year Victorian barristers have been insured with LPLC and over that period the premium they have paid has reduced by an average of 50 per cent.

During the reporting period there have also been some significant changes to the composition of LPLC.

Helen Thornton, who commenced as an LPLC member on 1 July 2014, is a chartered accountant and brings financial and governance skills to the LPLC.

Following the retirement of Mary Radisich after 15 years’ service as the member representing consumers, Catriona Lowe was appointed during 2014/15 by the Legal Services Board and her term begins on 1 July 2015. Catriona has had a long involvement with a number of consumer organisations.

This is my final report as Chairman of LPLC following my decision to resign after the end of the 2015 financial year as a member of the Committee. I joined the Committee in 2007, shortly before the impact of the global financial crisis. This was at a time when it was anticipated there would be significant economic consequences for Australia and in particular, a fall in the property market. LPLC’s past experience indicates that a falling property market would inevitably lead to an increase to the number and cost of claims. Fortunately, this did not eventuate as Australia fared better than other countries.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Committee, including the challenges faced by the Investment Committee of which I have been a member since 2007. Other challenges included an increasingly complex legal environment which has had consequences for the management of professional risks and claims.

I thank my fellow Committee members for their support and the CEO, Miranda Milne, and her team for their work during my tenure.

Geoff Rees
Chairman

From the CEO

The 2014/15 year brought some pleasing results, with a decline in both the number and cost of claims, after a spike in the 2013/14 year.

That spike was as a result of an unusually high cost of conveyancing matters which occurred during that year. This reporting year has seen a significant decline in the cost of conveyancing claims but there has been an increase in the cost of claims arising out of commercial matters.

Claims costs against barristers was unusually high in the 2014/15 year, principally due to a very small number of expensive claims. This is a small pool of practitioners, with a relatively low number of claims incurred in any one year. This small pool, combined with a low number of claims, does lead to some volatility in cost.

LPLC continued its risk management activities and this year visited firms with significant claims histories to assist them to improve their performance.

Members of the claims team continued in their endeavours to achieve timely processing of claims. The team was expanded this year with the addition of another experienced litigation solicitor.

Investment returns were strong but the current low interest environment is likely to produce modest returns in the future after the very strong returns of the last five years.

I thank Geoff Rees, in this his final year as Chairman and as a member of LPLC, for his work and support of the LPLC management team.

Miranda Milne
Chief Executive Officer

Claims – Solicitors

Of the total cost of claims against solicitors, 75 per cent usually arises from property and conveyancing, commercial transactions, mortgages and commercial litigation.

Of these four areas, an increase was experienced in claims arising out of commercial transactions – well above average. There were a number of claims arising out of mergers and acquisitions, and capital raisings. Some of these claims are class actions, where insured firms are but one of many parties to litigation.

Drafting errors in building contracts were another area of peril in the commercial area.

It was pleasing to see a reduction in the cost of conveyancing claims from the high level of the 2013/14 year. During the reporting period, there were a number of claims arising from intra-family transfers and gifts, where elderly parents transfer property to the next generation and later allege they did so under duress.

Defective section 32 statements were once more a common error, followed by errors arising out of subdivisions. There was an unusually high number of claims arising out of errors and uncertainties about liability to pay GST in property transactions.

In the area of commercial litigation, most claims arose out of litigants who were dissatisfied with settlements or the outcome of litigation. Other claims arose out of failure to issue proceedings in time or where firms receive counterclaims when suing for costs. There were also a number of claims arising from personal costs orders made by the court – an increasing exposure for solicitors.

The cost of claims arising out of mortgages was well below average. Claims were dominated by practices acting for mortgagees who either obtained inadequate security or failed or delayed in registering mortgages and caveats.

While matters arising from family law accounted for a relatively modest five per cent of the cost of claims, this was almost twice the average cost of past years. Claims arising out of alleged failure to adequately advise parties of the consequences of entering into binding financial agreements were a feature of claims experience in this area of practice.

Solicitor chart

Claims – Barristers

Over the 10 years in which LPLC has insured barristers, the claims experience has been moderate. However, in the reporting year there was a significant increase in the number and cost of claims.

The policy year closed with 55 reported claims and notifications with an incurred value of $2.84 million. This relatively high incurred cost came off a low average base over the previous nine years. The size of the barristers’ pool is relatively small, so there is volatility from year to year. Many of the notifications were of a precautionary nature.

Experienced barristers (being barristers of more than 15 years seniority) handling commercial litigation matters accounted for most claims and notifications, measured by both number and cost. Within this practice area, there are some recurrent themes.

The largest proportion of claims arose from criticisms of the barrister’s evaluation of strength and weaknesses of a client’s claim or defence. In some cases, there were allegations that a particular claim or defence proceeded without adequate advice of the risk of failure. In others, there were allegations that had proper advice been given, the client would have made a decision not to commence or defend litigation. In other cases, clients claimed they could have been extricated from the dispute at an earlier time in the proceeding, prior to judgment being given or at an earlier time during the litigation on more advantageous terms.

Other claims arising from the conduct of litigation included allegations and deficiencies in pleadings and noncompliance with the rules of procedure. These matters often resulted in personal costs applications against barristers.

A growing area is the pursuit of remedies against barristers alleging breach of overarching obligations under the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic). Such claims were often initiated by the court or the opposing party, rather than by clients. These can be particularly sensitive because of the impact on reputation accompanying these applications.

Disputes arising from settlement of litigation featured prominently, more so with family and commercial disputes than from personal injury litigation. Most of these claims involved allegations that barristers pressured clients into settling a case for less than it was worth. Other claims arose from failure to seek the required court approval and from failure to advise clients of tax issues arising out of settlements.

Dissatisfied and serial litigants continue to occupy a significant proportion of the cost and number of claims in the reporting period. These claims are difficult to dispose of quickly and are often brought against a number of barristers who may have represented or have been opposed to the litigant over a period of time.

Barristers chart

Risk Management

LPLC’s Risk Management team provides information and mitigating strategies to assist practitioners avoid risks and minimise their exposure to claims.

The team provides a range of educational resources and forums, publications and presentations as well as enhancing LPLC’s online presence and offering ongoing assistance to our insured practitioners.

Summary of 2014/15

  • 2014 Risk Management Intensive, Melbourne: 652 attendees | 3 workshops
  • Legal Business Essentials Series: 12 workshops | 329 attendees
  • 2015 Regional Risk Management Tour: 564 attendees | 11 regional centres
  • External Speaking Engagements: 41
  • Weekly Risk Management Blogs: 46
  • Risk Video Bites: 4
  • In Check: 4
  • Bulletins: 2
  • In Check: 4
  • Law Institute Journal Articles: 11
  • Practice Risk Guides: 4 revised
  • Presenter’s workbooks: 1 new and 6 revised
  • Checklists: 4 new and 1 revised
  • At risk firm reviews: 6
  • Welcome and new starter kit.

Seminars

Locations LPLC seminar held in 2014/15

Locations LPLC seminar

2014 Risk Management Intensive

The Risk Management Intensive workshops were held in Melbourne in late July and early August. The presenters included 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:

  • Looking after mum: the deals that families do
  • Ethical dilemmas
  • Stand and deliver – handing files over
  • Ten time limits that might surprise you
  • Detecting deception
  • Commercial litigation: managing the client and the case
  • Old mistakes and new laws – risk management for property lawyers.

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

2014 and 2015 Legal Business Essentials

In November 2014, and again in April 2015, LPLC ran its six half-day Legal Business Essentials workshops. The program was a repetition of the successful series run in early 2014 and was designed to develop crucial skills and knowledge to assist practitioners build and manage a successful legal practice. Three hundred and twentynine registrations were received for the Melbourne-based sessions over the six 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.

2015 Regional Risk Management Tour

Half-day seminars were held in 11 regional centres across 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 practitioners.

The topics were:

  • Wills and (real) estate: seeing the big picture
  • On your engagement: making clients happy.

The seminars were held in:

  • Bairnsdale
  • Ballarat
  • Bendigo
  • Geelong
  • Horsham
  • Mildura
  • Mt Eliza
  • Shepparton
  • Traralgon
  • Wangaratta
  • Warrnambool

External speaking engagements

Over the 2014/15 year LPLC experts attended 41 external speaking engagements delivering presentations on wide-ranging topics from risk management and the Personal Property and Securities Act to potential pitfalls for ‘P plate’ practitioners and electronic conveyancing.

LPLC staff spoke at the following locations/events:

  • The College of Law – 13
  • Leo Cussen Institute – 3
  • Law Institute of Victoria-related – 2
  • Law firms – 10
  • other legal forums and interest groups – 12.

Publications

Blogs

LPLC’s weekly risk management blog discussed current or recurring risk management themes and was emailed directly to over 900 subscribers as well as being posted on the LPLC website. The blogs covered topics ranging from audit checklists and caveats to risk registers and the new national mortgage form.

Risk Video Bites

To complement our newsletters, bulletins, seminars and weekly blogs we developed and filmed five three-to-four minute risk video bites on important and timely risk management issues to assist practitioners in claims prevention. During the policy year we published four bites on our website and notified practitioners by email.

The topics published were:

  • Intra-family transfers: risks of intra-family transfers
  • Who are you actually acting for?
  • Solicitor’s certificates: why are you borrowing the money?
  • Useable trail: fail to record at your own peril.

In Check

LPLC’s quarterly online newsletter, In Check, covered topics to assist practitioners stay informed about important developments affecting their professional risk. Four issues were published in 2014/15.

The newsletter covered a range of subjects including:

  • LPLC’s upcoming training seminars
  • Changes to the franchising code of conduct, FIRB approval, section 32 statements and terms contracts
  • Common GST queries
  • Cyber crime
  • Family provisions
  • Power of attorney changes
  • PPSA matters
  • Wills.

Bulletins and announcements

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

The following bulletins were:

  • Urgent LPLC Warning: New ID law means mortgages could be void
    • Released on 24 September 2014 and re-released as a reminder on 8 October 2014
  • LPLC Bulletin: Amended section 32 statement
    • Released on 25 September 2014.

Law Institute Journal articles

LPLC published 11 articles in the Law Institute Journal in 2014/15. The articles provided readers with in-depth risk management advice for all aspects of legal practice.

The topics included:

  • Self-managed super funds
  • Foreign investment traps
  • Intra-family transfers
  • Section 32 statements
  • The importance of file notes.

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 following four guides:

  • Looking after leases
  • Commercial litigation – stay alert
  • Weather-proofing wills and estates
  • Claim-free conveyancing.

Presenter’s workbooks

LPLC revised six of its comprehensive presenter’s workbooks to accompany the training videos on the LPLC website as well as developing one new workbook.

Checklists

During the financial year LPLC published four new checklists on its website as well as revising the Risk Management audit checklist.

The four new checklists were:

  • Key risk checklist – Solicitor’s certificates for borrowers or surety providers
  • Sale of land – questions for the vendor
  • Property websites
  • List of firm policies.

LPLC website

The LPLC website continued to provide practitioners easily accessible, timely and useful information about policies and premiums, the claims process, renewing insurance and risk management. It is extremely well patronised, with more than 59,000 users.

Firm projects

At risk firm reviews

During 2014/15 LPLC visited firms with significant claims experience to assist them with their risk management strategies. The aim of this project was to improve the claims experience of these firms by establishing reasons why claims have occurred and implementing steps to prevent claims in the future. The reports have been delivered to these firms and the project will continue in 2015/16.

Welcome and new starter kit

As a new initiative during the policy year a welcome email with information about LPLC was sent to practitioners newly insured with LPLC within a month of them taking their insurance. Topics covered in the welcome email were:

  • The difference between LPLC, VLSBC and LIV
  • LPLC website
  • Insurance policies, premiums and renewals
  • Claims
  • Risk management resources.

This project will continue in 2015/16.

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 clientrelated GST enquiries since 1999. LPLC’s PPS Hotline answers practitioners’ clientrelated Personal Property and Securities Act questions and the Water Hotline answers practitioners’ client-related water unbundling questions.

Informal helpline

Our risk and claims teams continue to answer practitioners’ enquires and requests for assistance. On average, we responded to over 18 queries per week.

Investments

The 2014/15 year returned a strong investment return of 7.55 per cent. The fund continued to be invested as a balanced fund, with an average allocation of approximately 60 per cent to growth assets and 40 per cent to cash.

Within its growth portfolio, the Legal Practitioners Liability Fund maintained its relatively low exposure to Australian equities in favour of international equities. Returns on international equities were enhanced by a falling Australian dollar.

LPLC diversified its investment portfolio during the reporting period, investing in four new funds, giving LPLC exposure to emerging markets and creating more diversity among managers and growth assets.

Towers Watson Australia Pty Ltd were investment advisers to the Committee. Funds were held with the following managers:

Australian equities

  • Vanguard Australian Shares Index Fund

International equities

  • MFS (Massachusetts Financial Services) Investment Management
  • Schroder Emerging Markets Fund
  • Real Index Global Share Fund
  • Schroder Real Return Fund
  • Vanguard International Shares Index Fund

Property

  • Dexus Wholesale Property Fund

Interest bearing growth alternatives

  • Colonial First State Wholesale Global Credit Income Fund

Cash

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

Average and asset chart

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee Members

Geoffrey Rees Chairman

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 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 was appointed Chair of Sietel Limited in February and retired as the Chair of the Advisory Board of Melbourne University Sport at the end of his extended term, which was also in February.

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.

Peter Fox QC

Peter Fox QC

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.

John Corcoran

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).

John is Chairman 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 has also been recognized in Best Lawyers’ for expertise in Real Property Law.

Mary Radisich

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.

Patricia Kelly

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.

Helen Thornton

Helen Thornton

Committee Member (commenced 1 July 2014)

Helen is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience across a wide range of industries including financial services. Helen has extensive experience in governance, audit and risk management and she has held senior leadership roles at Deloittes, KPMG, BHP Ltd and Bluescope Steel Ltd, where she was responsible for the global risk management and insurance program.

Helen has 16 years’ experience as a non-executive director and is an experienced Chair of Audit and Risk Committees. She is currently on the board of Big Sky Building Society, an APRA regulated entity and the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board and is an independent member of the Risk & Audit Committee of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. She is a former board member of Rural Finance Corporation.

Miranda Milne

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

Organisational 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 and Risk Committee comprised of Patricia Kelly (Chairman), Mary Radisich and Helen Thornton.

The Audit and Risk 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 John Corcoran (Chairman), Geoff Rees, Peter Fox QC 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.

Committee meetings Audit and Risk Committee Investment Committee Remuneration and Appointments Committee
Eligible Attended Eligible Attended Eligible Attended Eligible Attended
Geoff Rees 10 10 5 5 2 2
Peter Fox QC 10 9 5 5
John Corcoran 10 9 5 4
Mary Radisich 10 8 4 4
Patricia Kelly 10 9 4 4 2 2
Helen Thornton 10 10 4 4
Miranda Milne 10 10 5 5

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee Staff

Miranda Milne

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.

Justin Toohey

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.

Alex Macmillan

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.

Bronwyn Hine

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.

Josh Clutterbuck

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.

Prue Campton

Prue Campton

Claims Solicitor

Prue specialised in commercial litigation with Allens for 24 years prior to joining LPLC in 2014. She also practised as a general common law and insurance litigator with Ashurst.

Heather Hibberd

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.

Matthew Rose

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.

Phillip Nolan

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.

Martin Dohnt

Martin Dohnt

Chief Financial Officer

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.

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 2015.

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 (Vic) (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 (Vic) 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. 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

2013/14

Position Male Female Total
Chief Executive Officer 1 1
Chief Financial Officer (from 9/12/13) 1 1
Financial Controller (until 24/1/14) 1 1
Claims Manager 2 2 4
Risk Manager 2 1 3
Officer Manager 1 1
Insurance Manager 1 1
Communications Manager 1 1
Receptionist/PA 5 5
Total 5 13 18

2014/15

Position Male Female Total
Chief Executive Officer 1 1
Chief Financial Officer (from 9/12/13) 1 1
Financial Controller (until 24/1/14) 2 3 5
Claims Manager 2 1 3
Risk Manager 2 1 3
Officer Manager 1 1
Insurance Manager 1 1
Communications Manager 1 1
Receptionist/PA 7 7
Total 5 15 20

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 2014/15 reporting year.

Energy consumption

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.

Total energy usage was 60,041 kWh compared to 53,501 kWh in 2013/14 and the energy used per unit of office area 85.16 compared to 86.29 in 2013/14. kWh of energy used per FTE was 4002.

The 2015/16 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

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 0.98 tonnes of paper in the reporting period which contributed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 1.34 tonnes of carbon over 2014/15.

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

The target for the 2015/16 year is to reduce the paper consumption by at least 10 per cent compared to 2014/15, 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

Consultants each year to provide specialist advice to assist with decision making and risk management programs. During 2014/15 total consultancy expenditure as defined by the Financial Management Act 1994  (Vic) was approximately $387,935.

Taylor Fry – Actuaries

Taylor Fry is LPLC’s actuary. The expenditure for the reporting period was $171,779. Taylor Fry has been retained as LPLC’s actuary for the 2015/16 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 $46,800. Cumpston Sarjeant has been retained for the 2015/16 reporting period.

Towers Watson – from December 2013

Towers Watson is LPLC’s Fund Administrator. The expenditure for the reporting period was $169,356. Towers Watson has been retained for the 2015/16 reporting period.

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 (Vic) 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 practice
  • 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.

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