Queensland Law Society

QLS members advised to steer clear of claim farming

QLS president Ken Taylor has warned Queensland solicitors to be wary of utilising consultancy organisations which farm clients from surveys by offering them gift cards to submit their details.

“Claim farming can take many forms and we are now seeing the trend of non-legal consultancy firms being the middle-men to the farming,” he said.

“I urge all members to steer clear of any practice which involves monetary gain for a client submitting their details for a potential claim.”

Mr Taylor pointed to section 68 of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 which states that “a person must not pay, or seek payment of, a fee for the soliciting or inducing of a potential claimant to make a claim.”

“As solicitors, it is our role to remain ethical and above reproach, and so I encourage all practitioners to avoid utilising any type of ploy or outside organisation to find clients, regardless of how innocuous it may seem.

“Solicitors should always be conscious of protecting the reputation of the profession, especially in the methods of attracting new clients, either directly or through any third party.”

Mr Taylor referred to Rule 5 of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules which states:

  1. Dishonest and disreputable conduct
    • 5.1 A solicitor must not engage in conduct, in the course of practice or otherwise, which demonstrates that the solicitor is not a fit and proper person to practise law, or which is likely to a material degree to:
      • 5.1.1 be prejudicial to, or diminish the public confidence in, the administration of justice; or
      • 5.1.2 bring the profession into disrepute.

We must always remember that compliance with the law and our paramount duty to the administration of justice is critical to our responsibilities to our clients. Actions such as claims farming diminish public confidence and compromise the professions integrity.

“Should you have any concerns about your current practices, please phone our QLS Ethics Centre and speak to one of our experienced advisers,” Mr Taylor said.

“It is always best to be safe rather than sorry.”