‘Fail to record advice at your own peril’ – Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC)

‘Fail to record advice at your own peril’ – Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC)

Thursday, 9 March 2017

As practitioners, we typically have high volumes of casework, many of which are litigation files that demand back to back days in Court.  We are busy people who ‘just don’t have time’ to document all our instructions, case strategy and advice to our clients, right?

Recent disciplinary cases

Recent disciplinary cases remind us that ‘just don’t have time’ for documentation is not an excuse that is accepted. There are instances where courts have not accepted a practitioner’s recollection of a matter, simply because the practitioner did not have documentation to support this.

Taking a leaf out of our own book

As practitioners, we advise our clients about risk, and encourage them to avoid behaviour that could result in legal liability. But so often, we don’t take a leaf out of our own book and avoid the risks associated with failing to document our advice, instructions and case strategy.

Our Compliance and Quality Audit teams can find it difficult to identify how you assessed that a client was eligible for legal assistance or ascertain what your legal services look like without documentation on your file.  This presents a general professional standards risk as well as a  financial (legal aid restitution) risk for your office. 

File notes are worth the paper they’re written on

If we still haven’t convinced you that file notes are worth the paper they’re written on, we recommend that you access the LPLC’s corresponding four-minute video titled ‘Useable trail – fail to record advice at your own peril.  Watch the video online.

Contact us

If you have questions about quality audits, please contact the Quality Audit team via email qualityaudits@vla.vic.gov.au or phone direct (03) 9606 5242.