Can I threaten disciplinary proceedings against a practitioner if a civil liability is not satisfied?

Practitioners should bear in mind that such actions are in direct contravention of rule 34.1.2 of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 (Qld) (‘ASCR’). The prohibition is unambiguous.

Consider a threat to go to the Legal Services Commission (‘LSC’) unless the defence of a debt recovery proceeding is discontinued and the sum sought paid. The solicitor issuing the threat, in addition to breaching rule 34 and the paramount duty to the administration of justice,1 is inviting the target of his threat to also violate the paramount duty, as well as place their interests ahead of their client’s.2

If the matter were settled pursuant to the threat, both practitioners would also be misleading the court (note that this would be true even in mediation and dispute resolution proceedings as the definition of court in the ASCR includes them3).4

The LSC is not a bogeyman for use in settlement negotiations, nor is it interested in settling spats between solicitors. If a practitioner is being frustrated by an intractable or recalcitrant opponent, the QLS Ethics and Practice Centre has the Non-Binding Ethics Ruling process which may assist member practitioners. 

1 Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 (Qld) r 3.

2 Ibid r 4.1.1.

3 Ibid Glossary of Terms. 

4 Ibid r 19.