Stamping out claim farming
27 June 2018
Queensland Law Society is aware that claim farming is an issue not just in Queensland, but across the nation and internationally. Although some of the conduct that amounts to claim farming may not be prohibited by legislation (such as the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002), it may breach ethical obligations as found in the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 which could result in disciplinary action being taken against the solicitor.
Although on the Society’s radar for many years, president Ken Taylor would like to update QLS members on the current progress.
“As always, it is disappointing to hear of practitioners engaging in claims farming practices of any kind,” he said.
“We have been working closely with stakeholders such as the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) and the Government to tackle this issue.
“In 2016, MAIC undertook a review on claim farming to determine whether it was present in Queensland and to look at what could be done to combat it. QLS made submissions to the review and worked with stakeholders on this.”
The submission by QLS called for:
- A requirement for the claimant and the solicitor to certify, at the beginning and end of the claim that the claim did not originate from a claim farmer.
- Legislative reform to give the “50/50” rule extraterritorial effect.
- Strengthening section 67 of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002.
- Providing further powers and resources to the Legal Services Commissioner if warranted.
This submission is available here.
Mr Taylor said that there has been further work on this since the review, with engagement with both MAIC and the Government continuing.
“We are considering what legislative reform is needed with the relevant parties and now working to progress the proposed reforms.
“We have also continued to issue alerts to members, the public and the media to call attention to claim farming and discuss the negative impact it has on the profession and the community.
“We will continue to keep members abreast of our progress on this issue.”