If the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner considers that a lawyer's conduct is unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct, the Commissioner can lay a charge before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. The Tribunal is an independent body set up under the Act to conduct inquiries to determine whether lawyers have been guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct [section 82 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (SA) Act].
Charges can also be laid by the Attorney General, the Law Society or by any person (whether a client or otherwise) who is aggrieved by the conduct of a lawyer.
When a charge against a lawyer is laid before the Tribunal it must inquire into the conduct of the lawyer [section 82(4) of the Act].
If the Tribunal considers that the lawyer has been guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct it may:
- reprimand the lawyer; or
- make orders for independent examination of the lawyer's files, or
- make orders imposing conditions on the lawyer's practising certificate relating to the lawyer's legal practice or requiring the lawyer to undertake further education or training or receive counselling; or
- order the lawyer to pay a fine of up to $50,000.
- make an order suspending the lawyer's practising certificate for up to 12 months, or
- recommend that disciplinary proceedings be taken in the Supreme Court.
There is a right of appeal to the Supreme Court from decisions of the Tribunal.
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