Queensland Law Society

QLS says “claim farming’’ is both unethical and breach of solicitors conduct rules

Date 26 May 2017
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland’s peak legal body has denounced the dubious interstate trend of “claim farming’’ creeping into the state.

Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth said the practice was “both unethical and a clear breach of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules.”

Ms Smyth on Friday (May 26) said: “The Society is of the view Queensland’s Compulsory Third Party Insurance Scheme is strong and effective and is underpinned by these rules.”

However, Ms Smyth said the Society was concerned about evidence indicating that claims farming was both present in and threatening the Scheme.

“Claim farming can have a negative impact on the rights and wellbeing of those injured in motor vehicle and other accidents. The last thing an injured person needs is someone peddling their services while they try to recover,’’ Ms Smyth.

“That sort of behaviour is not only in breach of the rules but is also detrimental to the injured person and Queensland’s enviable CTP scheme.

“Lawyers who engage in this reprehensible conduct invite disciplinary action form the Legal Services Commission. And, if they are found to have breached this rule they can expect and deserve little sympathy in that eventuality.’’

Ms Smyth said the overwhelming majority of the Society’s 11,000-plus members deplored claim farming and actively opposed it.

“When our members are aware of this is occurring they are not slow in telling us of their concerns. They well know it is bad for clients, community and the profession,’’ Ms Smyth.

Rule 34.2 states: “In the conduct or promotion of a solicitor’s practice, the solicitor must not seek instructions for the provision of legal services in a manner likely to oppress or harass a person who, by reason of some recent trauma or injury, or other circumstances, is, or might reasonably be expected to be, at a significant disadvantage in dealing with the solicitor at the time when the instructions are sought.”

Ms Smyth said the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) should be commended for its leadership in investigating this very important issue.

“Thankfully the professionalism of Queensland lawyers means that the practice is a rarity in this state, their ethical duties and the ASCRs ensures it stays this way,” Ms Smyth said.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au.