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Annual Report 2011/2012 Professional Standards Councils



Annual Report 2011/2012 Professional Standards Councils

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Tabled paper 112


Tabled Papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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48 Professional Standards Councils Annual Report 2011-12 A u S tR A li A n C A P it A l te R R it o R y | n e w S o u th w A le S | n o R th e R n t e R R it o R y | Q u e e n S lA n d | S o u th A u S tR A li A | t A S m A n iA | V iC to R iA | w e S te R n A u S tR A li A Continuing professional development QLS has a range of professional development offerings. During 2011-12, QLS attracted 6,425 attendees to 14 major conferences, 65 short seminars and regional workshops which attracted approximately 1,000 members. Attendance at seminars and conferences was up nine per cent on the previous year. Those unable to attend could gain CPD points through the purchase and viewing of DVD resources. Complaints and discipline of members The Legal Services Commission (LSC) received and dealt with 2,562 enquiries throughout the year. It received 1,041 formal written complaints from members of the public and initiated 100 own motion investigations. It finalised 1,097 complaints and 97 own motion investigations a clearance ratio overall of 105 per cent. The LSC took no action on 507 (or 46 per cent) of the 1,097 complaints finalised during the year, and dealt with 51 (or five per cent) consumer disputes and 539 conduct complaints. A small number of solicitors are subject to multiple complaints. The LSC dealt with 420 solicitors about conduct matters, 386 about one matter only, 48 about two matters, 14 about three matters and approximately 12 about four or more matters. Female lawyers were almost three times less likely than male lawyers per head of population to be subject to complaint. Similarly, lawyers remain increasingly more likely to be subject to complaint depending on age group and experience. QLS reports that there is nothing particularly surprising in the spread of complaints according to practice area, as these are broadly similar to earlier years. Conveyancing and personal injury attracted the most claims and complaints. Trends in professional indemnity insurance Under the Queensland Law Society Indemnity Rules 2005, every solicitor must be insured under the QLS PII scheme, operated by Lexon Insurance. Availability and stability of the scheme remains satisfactory and constant whilst cover is arranged with Lexon for the compulsory layer of $2 million. Despite ongoing challenges in the insurance environment, prudent and effective management of the scheme by QLS and Lexon enabled the delivery of a levy model for 2011-12, which sees: a five per cent reduction to the base levy rates for each of gross fee income (GFI) bands 2 to 9 now at their lowest levels since the introduction of the GFI model an increased discount of 10 per cent of the base levels of practices that have signed on for the Enhanced Management Review program with a minimum discount for small practices of $1,000 and a maximum discount capped at $25,000 a continuation of reduced excesses payable by low fee earning practices for 2011-12 year claims. monitoring of claims QLS is responsible for monitoring claims made against its members through close cooperation with Lexon Insurance. QLS reported that the practice areas that attracted the most claims and complaints were from commercial and family law. During 2011, Lexon ran 520 individual risk management workshops to 3,430 people within Queensland practices. The issues that they addressed covered where claims derive, the underlying causes, and how to avoid them. Use of Cover of excellence trademark QLS performs an annual audit of members of the scheme to ensure compliance with disclosure requirements. The audit involves requesting copies of documentation (such as letterhead, fax coversheets, newsletters etc) from members to ensure they contain the appropriate statements and the Cover of Excellence trademark (where appropriate).