Queensland Law Society

Reminder to avoid claim farming

QLS president Ken Taylor has reminded Queensland solicitors to stay away from claims farming of any kind.

“It is disappointing to hear of any practitioners engaging in such practices,” he said.

“I point members towards Queensland Law Society’s Guidance Statement No. 3 – Paying Referral Fees and Rule 12.4.4 Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 – (Published 30 June 2015), which provide information for solicitors when acting for a client who has been referred by a third party.”

Pursuant to rule 12.1 of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 a solicitor cannot offer to give, or give, a financial benefit for a referral unless the solicitor, per rule 12.4.4, first discloses the payment or financial benefit to the client and receives the informed consent of the client.

There is no definitive definition of “informed consent”.

The Guidance Statement poses questions for solicitors to consider when seeking the informed consent of the client to the proposal.

Mr Taylor also reminded members of their obligations under Chapter 3, Part 1 of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 which imposes restrictions on advertising of personal injury services and touting.

“Under section 68, a person must not pay, or seek payment of, a fee for the soliciting or inducing of a potential claimant to make a claim,” he said.  

“QLS opposes claim farming and any conduct by solicitors and third parties that breaches these provisions.

“We urge all our members to remain above reproach in the eyes of both the public and the profession.

“Should you have any queries, please speak to our QLS Ethics Centre.”