Failing to plan is planning to fail

3 May, 2016

Practitioners need to be proactive from the outset in litigation matters. Litigation matters can be protracted and unpredictable. Consequently, practitioners often approach these matters one step at a time and deal with issues when they become critical. To manage risk effectively, you need to be proactive from the outset. Time limits Always identify and diarise applicable limitation dates at the […]

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Making it personal

1 October, 2015

Litigators who breach their obligations are at risk of a personal cost order The LPLC has seen an increase in the number of claims involving personal cost orders since the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic) was introduced. The Act codifies practitioners’ paramount duty to the court and sets out overarching obligations when acting in civil proceedings. […]

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Called to account

28 May, 2013

Legal practitioners must put in place a process for fully informing clients about their overarching obligations The recent Supreme Court case of Norman South Pty Ltd & Anor v da Silva (No 2) [2012] VSC 622 (17 December 2012) considered whether or not a legal practitioner breached their overarching obligations by failing to: “. . […]

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A matter of trust

28 March, 2012

Practitioners need to be clear about purpose when holding trust money Practitioners know that trust money is not their property, nor is it held for their benefit. However, practitioners should be wary of any misconception that trust money is necessarily held on their client’s behalf, even if the funds were paid by the client. It depends on the terms of the […]

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Civil proceedings heading for reform

1 November, 2010

New legislation in Victoria is designed to bring about cultural change in court proceedings. The Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic) heralds important legislative reform for civil proceedings conducted in the Supreme, County and Magistrates’ Courts, but not the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. It will come into operation on 1 June 2011 at the latest, […]

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Managing dissatisfied litigants

1 August, 2010

Clients who are dissatisfied litigants can cause practitioners grief unless they are managed well. Practitioners know that unhappy clients are less likely to pay them and more likely to sue them. In the commercial litigation area in the past four years, the categories that accounted for 30.4 per cent by cost and 40.3 per cent by […]

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Defamation requires timely action

1 June, 2010

Defamation actions are subject to unusual extension of time provisions. Defamation issues tend to materialise as claims at the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) in two guises. Some claims arise when practitioners are alleged to have defamed another party in the course of conducting a file. The other context involves practitioners acting for clients who […]

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Losing objectivity

1 October, 2009

Solicitors engaged in damage control may fail to spot a conflict. The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) sees many claims where a practitioner misjudges the best route to rectify a mistake or compounds the damage by trying to litigate out of a problem. The decision to step aside is especially difficult when dealing with a […]

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Sorry about that

21 July, 2009

An offer to make amends can dispatch a defamation claim.  Legal practitioners can stray into defamatory terrain with an injudicious choice of words or a communication made indiscreetly. Once that line has been crossed, it is important for practitioners to understand that an offer to make amends can provide a total defence to defamation proceedings […]

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Off the radar

1 May, 2009

Good case management is essential for avoiding liability for claims. One of the least exotic mistakes in litigation – the failure to comply with a court order or a litigation timetable – continues to give rise to costly and wholly avoidable claims against litigation lawyers. The valuable risk management lesson here is that these mistakes […]

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