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Lawyers squeal as Government gets in on milking the law

By johnboy - 12 June 2012 10

The ABC has a hilarious article on Canberra’s legal practitioners wringing their hands about access to justice with court fees going up.

Because $1,472 for a day of the Supreme Court’s time is going to be a major line item in the bill for legal action?

The barriers to justice in the ACT are numerous and mostly relate to lawyers arseing around and ramping up their fees.

Let’s not kids ourselves, unless you are very wealthy or very good friends with a lawyer you do not have access to justice in the ACT.

In the bigger scheme of the immense costs of our legal system (let us drop the pretence it’s a justice system) a bit more money going to the courts and a bit less to the lawyers doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

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10 Responses to
Lawyers squeal as Government gets in on milking the law
Lookout Smithers 1:55 pm 14 Jun 12

TheObserver said :

Yawn – another piece of lazy journalism. First, on what basis is it suggested that most lawyers arse about? It would be refreshing if the Riot Act might come up with some facts to back up what seems to be a copy paste from a draft media release from an Attorney General who has never run a litigation case in his life. Fact- in a personal injury dispute, the lawyers dont get paid until the end. What is the benefit in dragging the thing out? Moreover there is no benefit in ramping up legal costs to be an unacceptable percentage of a person’s pay out. So the arguments about lawyers delaying are a bit of a furphy – unless you are talking about Government lawyers. There is not one lawyer in private practice who has not had a case against the Government and not get told “we’ve got deeper pockets – we’ll wear you down”. Now – apply that to the majority of cases against Govt that WONT have an exemption from this extortion. To who’s benefit will this extortion actually accrue – you guessed it, the ACT Govt – which so egregiously under-resources its court system (which is the source of delays) that it now must employ financial penalties to make it all go away. Think about planning appeals – so, when the ACT is challenged on a crap planning decision, the community organisation fighting it will have the added cost burden – which doesnt really do a lot for accountability and transparency. None of this will actually do jack-shit to reduce legal costs – Oh, and the by the way – now would be the time to invest in insurance company shares because the worker’s comp and other insurers will be going back to the bad old days of running every case to the steps of the court and settling on the steps, but for less than the case is worth on a ‘take it or leave it- or pay for the privilege of having it heard’ basis.

Johnboy – finally, a piece of advice – given that you know squat about the legal system, except for perhaps as a result of your own brushes with it – why not be a bit better informed before dribbling this sort of trash?

Here here. Though I am pleased that JB has allowed such criticisms through! JB runs a site with a lot of traffic, but his one sided reporting on anything legal lets it down.

PantsMan 6:15 pm 12 Jun 12

HenryBG said :

TheObserver said :

First, on what basis is it suggested that most lawyers arse about?

On the basis of personal observation: they are slow, disorganised, dishonest and ineffective.
Put all that together and you get “arse about”.

As the High Court puts it:
“The torpid languor of one hand washes the drowsy procrastination of the other”

They have this pathetic in-bred club here in the ACT where they band together and appoint each other to the Bar, and then to the benches – courts in Sydney and Melbourne always have a giggle when they see a matter listed involving any ACT barristers as they look forward to another session of “tease the retarded kid”.

+1.

I’ve heard multiple people say Canberra lawyers are crap. Ie, “Yeh, you could do that, but you’d have to get someone out Canberra to do it for you.”

scorpio63 6:02 pm 12 Jun 12

Spot on Aussielyn

aussielyn 5:20 pm 12 Jun 12

To fight a planning appeal in ACAT will cost you about $40K and you have 5% chance of winning.
As I recall the original, AAT was set up to be an inexpensive and less procedurally legalistic structure to solve civil disputes. It was not envisaged to have the formality of a court. Times have changed and now you would be a fool to be un-represented and be torn apart by a barrister. The plans can change during the hearing making an applicant totally dis-oriented. The Territory Plan and P & D Act are becoming more complex.
The objects of the ACAT Act 2008 include “to ensure that access to the tribunal is simple and inexpensive, for all people who need to deal with the tribunal”. I recall a barrister boasting that a certain famous dispute paid for his home renovations.

HenryBG 4:50 pm 12 Jun 12

TheObserver said :

First, on what basis is it suggested that most lawyers arse about?

On the basis of personal observation: they are slow, disorganised, dishonest and ineffective.
Put all that together and you get “arse about”.

As the High Court puts it:
“The torpid languor of one hand washes the drowsy procrastination of the other”

They have this pathetic in-bred club here in the ACT where they band together and appoint each other to the Bar, and then to the benches – courts in Sydney and Melbourne always have a giggle when they see a matter listed involving any ACT barristers as they look forward to another session of “tease the retarded kid”.

A_Cog 3:58 pm 12 Jun 12

Sorry johnboy, but you’re off-target on this one. The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) is a proper forum which exists for people to represent themselves (no lawyers needed) when they get screwed over by entities such as Real Estate Agents or tradesmen or businesses, or when pursuing shonks for occupational discipline, civil disputes, administrative review matters…

Citizens can try to inform themselves as best they can (by going to the ACT Law Society, for example, or the ACT Tenants Union, or whichever legal advice resource they first use) and then take the wrong-doer to ACAT.

Pushing the fees up puts this out of reach for people who have been screwed over. Yes, lawyers cost too much, but this does not always matter in ACAT matters where people can represent themselves. ACAT fees should be locked in, and it’s sad that they won’t be.

DrKoresh 3:40 pm 12 Jun 12

TheObserver said :

Yawn – another piece of lazy journalism. First, on what basis is it suggested that most lawyers arse about? It would be refreshing if the Riot Act might come up with some facts to back up what seems to be a copy paste from a draft media release from an Attorney General who has never run a litigation case in his life. Fact- in a personal injury dispute, the lawyers dont get paid until the end. What is the benefit in dragging the thing out? Moreover there is no benefit in ramping up legal costs to be an unacceptable percentage of a person’s pay out. So the arguments about lawyers delaying are a bit of a furphy – unless you are talking about Government lawyers. There is not one lawyer in private practice who has not had a case against the Government and not get told “we’ve got deeper pockets – we’ll wear you down”. Now – apply that to the majority of cases against Govt that WONT have an exemption from this extortion. To who’s benefit will this extortion actually accrue – you guessed it, the ACT Govt – which so egregiously under-resources its court system (which is the source of delays) that it now must employ financial penalties to make it all go away. Think about planning appeals – so, when the ACT is challenged on a crap planning decision, the community organisation fighting it will have the added cost burden – which doesnt really do a lot for accountability and transparency. None of this will actually do jack-shit to reduce legal costs – Oh, and the by the way – now would be the time to invest in insurance company shares because the worker’s comp and other insurers will be going back to the bad old days of running every case to the steps of the court and settling on the steps, but for less than the case is worth on a ‘take it or leave it- or pay for the privilege of having it heard’ basis.

Johnboy – finally, a piece of advice – given that you know squat about the legal system, except for perhaps as a result of your own brushes with it – why not be a bit better informed before dribbling this sort of trash?

tl;dr

p1 3:28 pm 12 Jun 12

TheObserver said :

Why not be a bit better informed before dribbling this sort of trash?

Pretty sure that JB’s opinion on the “legal system” is [a] his opinion (and therefore, by definition, can’t really be wrong) while also vague enough to be hard to really dispute.

You make some good points:in no-win-no-fee deals lawyers DO have motivation to be quick and efficient – unless of course they are taking a per-hour rate out of the win, and they are sure they will win. I also find your suggestion that this might be a deliberate act by the government to try and reduce the load on the court system to that their numbers look better. That is the sort of cynical conspiracy story which I usually think of.

The fact is, lawyers are out their to make money. If you have need to engage in the “legal system”, court costs and lawyers fees are the two real cost hurdles.

TheObserver 2:50 pm 12 Jun 12

Yawn – another piece of lazy journalism. First, on what basis is it suggested that most lawyers arse about? It would be refreshing if the Riot Act might come up with some facts to back up what seems to be a copy paste from a draft media release from an Attorney General who has never run a litigation case in his life. Fact- in a personal injury dispute, the lawyers dont get paid until the end. What is the benefit in dragging the thing out? Moreover there is no benefit in ramping up legal costs to be an unacceptable percentage of a person’s pay out. So the arguments about lawyers delaying are a bit of a furphy – unless you are talking about Government lawyers. There is not one lawyer in private practice who has not had a case against the Government and not get told “we’ve got deeper pockets – we’ll wear you down”. Now – apply that to the majority of cases against Govt that WONT have an exemption from this extortion. To who’s benefit will this extortion actually accrue – you guessed it, the ACT Govt – which so egregiously under-resources its court system (which is the source of delays) that it now must employ financial penalties to make it all go away. Think about planning appeals – so, when the ACT is challenged on a crap planning decision, the community organisation fighting it will have the added cost burden – which doesnt really do a lot for accountability and transparency. None of this will actually do jack-shit to reduce legal costs – Oh, and the by the way – now would be the time to invest in insurance company shares because the worker’s comp and other insurers will be going back to the bad old days of running every case to the steps of the court and settling on the steps, but for less than the case is worth on a ‘take it or leave it- or pay for the privilege of having it heard’ basis.

Johnboy – finally, a piece of advice – given that you know squat about the legal system, except for perhaps as a result of your own brushes with it – why not be a bit better informed before dribbling this sort of trash?

dtc 2:43 pm 12 Jun 12

A lot of court cases are run ‘no win no fee’. This means the punter (umm, plaintiff) doesnt have to cough up any money in advance except for expenses. Yes, in the scheme of things, a few $1000 here or there is nothing in comparison to legal costs, but there is a difference between being told ‘you dont pay your lawyers until you win, but it will cost you (say) $1500 in expenses to run this case’ and being told the same thing but that it will cost you $3500 in expenses.

Alternatively the lawyers cover the costs up front, which affects their business costs (which perhaps is covered by increasing their fees?)

If you are in a position to recover compensation (whether personal injury, debt recovery, business dispute etc) then you can almost certainly find a lawyer willing to take you on for not much up front. You have access to justice

If you aren’t that kind of person, or you are the person being sued, then ‘access to justice’ is what johnboy says. Expensive.

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