Legal practitioners

QCAT conducts disciplinary proceedings against legal practitioners after the complaint has been investigated and referred by the Legal Services Commission.

Legal practitioners include all persons who hold a current local practising certificate or a current practising certificate. For legal practitioners QCAT decides matters related to:

    QCAT can also:

      Disciplinary proceedings

      QCAT conducts disciplinary proceedings against legal practitioners after the complaint has been investigated and referred by the Legal Services Commission. The requirements for progressing disciplinary proceedings under the Legal Profession Act 2007 are outlined in QCAT Practice Direction No. 10 of 2021 and must be followed. Only the Legal Services Commission can apply to commence disciplinary proceedings against a legal practitioner in QCAT. If QCAT decides a legal practitioner is guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct the tribunal may order that the practitioner:

      • has their local practising certificate suspended for a period of time or cancelled
      • be allowed to practise subject to certain conditions such as being supervised by another practitioner or undertaking further legal education
      • pay a penalty of up to $100,000
      • pay compensation (a complainant must have filed and served a Notice of Intention to Seek Compensation Order form beforehand)
      • be publicly or in special circumstances, privately reprimanded.

      Extending a practising certificate

      The regulatory authority may apply to QCAT to extend an immediate amendment or suspension of a legal practitioner’s practising certificate for a further 56 days. A legal practitioner may also apply to QCAT to stop a change to the practising certificate.

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      Practising with a conviction

      If a legal practitioner has been convicted of an offence and the practitioner’s practising certificate or local registration (if they are a foreign solicitor) has been amended, suspended or cancelled the practitioner can apply to QCAT to request that their practising certificate not be changed:

      • until the end of the time to appeal against the conviction, or
      • if an appeal is made against the conviction until the appeal is finally decided, lapses or otherwise ends.

      Suitability of a legal practitioner

      QCAT may provide a direction to the Admissions Board regarding the suitability of a legal practitioner. Only the Admissions Board may apply for a direction from QCAT.

      Review a Legal Practice Committee decision

      QCAT is able to review disciplinary decisions made by the Legal Practice Committee that:

      • a legal practitioner has engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct, and
      • a law practice employee has engaged in misconduct in relation to the relevant practice.

      Apply for a review of the Legal Practice Committee’s decision.

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      Review a Queensland Law Society decision

      QCAT is able to review decisions made by Queensland Law Society including decisions:

      • disqualifying a legal practitioner as an external examiner
      • approving a legal practitioner as a lay associate
      • registering a legal practitioner as a foreign solicitor
      • deregistering a foreign solicitor
      • regarding the time period following cancelled registration in which a legal practitioner cannot reapply for registration
      • regarding compensation claims from the fidelity guarantee fund.

      Apply for a review of Queensland Law Society’s decision.

      Review a regulatory authority decision

      QCAT is able to review decisions made a regulatory authority including decisions related to:

      • practising certificates
      • interstate legal practitioners
      • requiring a person to have a health assessment
      • time periods for cancelled registration.

      Apply for a review of a regulatory authority’s decision.

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