Date issued: 21 June 2017
Representatives of the Law Institute of Victoria, VLSC+B, Legal Aid, consumer groups and others met in Melbourne on Thursday, 15 June to assist the LSC with its policy outreach work, at the fourth LSC Consultative Forum.
Participants shared insights into how consumers can be best informed about their legal costs, consistent with the objectives of the Uniform Law. Participants reviewed and commented on a possible revised approach to costs disclosure using a form. The LSC is considering how to harmonise the Uniform Law approach with that of other jurisdictions.
"We want to test a new concept for the current costs disclosure form under the Uniform Law. This could have strong benefits for law practices and for consumers," said LSC CEO Dale Boucher.
"This could assist law practices to counter arguments about paying a solicitor's fee, for example, where a much higher threshold was used. This could happen if the rules were to permit "form" disclosure for estimated legal costs between $1 and $5,000. The LSC will continue to engage actively with stakeholders as it develops these ideas," he said.
The forum also discussed what approach the LSC should take in responding to consultations which the Law Council of Australia is understood to be undertaking on revisions of the ASCRs. In particular, the forum discussed ideas concerning Rule 33 – Communication with other solicitor's clients, Rule 9 – Confidentiality, Rule 10 – Conflicts concerning former clients and Rule 11 – Conflict of duties concerning current clients of the ASCRs.
"One of the key roles of the Council is to consult widely with stakeholders. This helps us to find ways to best administer the Uniform Law for the benefit of consumers, the legal profession and the general public," said Dale Boucher, LSC CEO.
"Four Consultative Forums have now been held since the Uniform Law commenced. All have been informative and highly productive and we will continue to reach out by this and other means, wherever and whenever we can."