If the Commissioner is satisfied there is evidence of Professional Misconduct (which must be admissible, reliable and substantial evidence) and that the conduct can be adequately dealt with under Section 77J of the Act, he may decide not to lay a charge before the Tribunal.
Instead the Commissioner can take the same action that he could take for Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct. In addition, but only with the lawyer’s consent, the Commissioner can also:
- impose a fine not exceeding $20,000
- suspend the lawyer from practising law for a period not exceeding 6 months.
- the more serious cases of Professional Misconduct, where any action the Commissioner can take would not be adequate
- those cases where the disciplinary action proposed by the Commissioner requires the consent of the lawyer, and the lawyer doesn't give that consent
the Commissioner will take proceedings in the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal or the Supreme Court. The Tribunal or Court will then make a decision in relation to that misconduct.
This may result in restrictions being placed on a lawyer’s ability to practise law, or the Supreme Court may remove a lawyer from the State’s Roll of Legal Practitioners.
If there is a finding of Professional Misconduct, the offending lawyer's details will also be published on the Register of Disciplinary Action.