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LPLC claims drop

Briefs

Cite as: (2007) 81(12) LIJ, p. 16


The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) has recorded its lowest number of claims against lawyers since 2001.

A report, 2006-2007: How did we fare?, showed the LPLC received 484 claims, worth $30.5 million.

LPLC CEO Miranda Milne said in 2006/07 the LPLC also recorded the lowest cost of claims in four years.

She said the low figures were partly due to fewer people wanting to get out of contracts because of the buoyant economy.

A decrease in personal injury work because of the tort law reforms and LPLC risk management programs also helped to reduce the number of claims, Ms Milne said.

Claims made against lawyers in commercial law were the most expensive, making up 39.4 per cent of the total claims.

Conveyancing recorded the second highest cost of claims, despite the percentage costs for claims decreasing from 30.3 per cent in 2005/06 to 16.7 per cent in 2006/07.

The report said: “Understanding what the client intends to do with the land and communicating with the client about the issues affecting the land will help solicitors avoid problems in this area”.

Personal injury litigation made up 11.1 per cent of LPLC claims, after the practice area recorded a drop in both the number and cost of claims.

The most expensive problems for personal injury lawyers were the failure to investigate or consider a cause of action, the failure to issue proceedings, proceedings delays and strike-out problems.

The report showed lawyers’ lack of advice about easements was a prevalent problem in conveyancing.

The cost and number of leases claims has dropped from 12.9 to 0.4 per cent since 2004, while drafting errors were the most costly errors, the report showed.

Mortgages claims continued to increase, with lack of security and forged mortgages the most expensive problems.

Ms Milne said solicitors should be heartened with the results of the last policy year, but said there was never room for complacency.

“Continue being vigilant in your communication with clients, your file-note taking and letter writing, and your systems for tracking and managing files,” she said.

Law Institute of Victoria CEO Mike Brett Young said Victorian lawyers were to be congratulated on the low number of claims made.

He said the reason for the drop in claims was related to improved professional development for lawyers and a stronger economy.

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