Reproduced from @Australian Friday 18 September 2009 | by Michael Pelly and Debbie Guest
|Lawyers fail you, McClelland warns FEDERAL Attorney-General Robert McClelland yesterday declared that anyone using a lawyer to resolve a dispute was “well and truly up the creek without a paddle” as he challenged the profession to embrace his push for consumer reform.
Mr McClelland, who will deliver a “state of the legal nation” address to the Australian Legal Convention in Perth today, said the structures had “comprehensively failed to adampt to modern demands and expectations.”
He signalled the standard cost agreements for litigation, which he said not even lawyers could explain simply.
“There is no way many lawyers would willingly be consumers of their own legal services if they weren’t able to have it done through their firm or through a friend who is a barrister, because the costs would be prohibitive.” he told the Australian.
“You’re entering an unknown. If you are in a dispute with someone, as soon as you go through a lawyer’s door you have grabbed a tiger by the tail.”
The nation’s first legal officer said lawyers had done themselves a disservice. “They have created that uncertainty, lack of clarity and regulatory gobbledegook that is spewed out to clients and has been … a disincentive for them to use lawyers.” Mr McClelland said.
“To use a lawyer to resolve a dispute for you effectively means you are well and truly up the creek without a paddle.”
He said prof-forma cost disclosure statements sometimes ran to 15 pages.
“They don’t read them until there’s a blue later on.”
“If you asked a lawyer to read their 10 – 15 page cost disclosure agreement and then say ‘In three paragraphs, what does it mean?’ they wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Mr McClelland told the John Curting Institute of Public Policy yesterday he wanted greater transarency in billing, a “clear, accessible and affordable” complaints mechanism, and for consumers to play a key role in setting national standards.
He released a discussion paper on reform that proposed the establishment of a national legal services board to set standards for all lawyers on admission, professional conduct, trust funds, indemnity insurance, billing and education. It would keep a national register of Australian lawyers, foreign lawyers and disciplinary orders.
The board would be a small body “made up of key experts from differing backgrounds including legal practice, consumer protection and the regulation of professions.” There would also be advisory committees.
“In short, in framing new national regulations, we need to keep in mind the experience the average punter has with the system …”
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Former Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland’s river boat metaphors are remarkably fresh and quite apt. In my case, being a highly specialised, non-litigation lawyer who thought I was protecting myself by hiring the legal servies of litigation lawyers, well I was not so much as “left up the creek without a paddle” as trussed, and gagged and sold down the river after being stripped clean of every worldly possession, freeholds, children, reputation and identity – victim of a blatantly fraudulent, and criminally stupid, property law claim.
Yes, I was stripped clean, and then stripped some more, by the worst sorts of throat cutting riverboat pirates dressed up as lawyers and brandishing legal credentials and fraudulently written legal writs – lying claims without a skerrick of evidence collected first, after, or even at all, to back up any of the false claims. And mountains of evidence and illegalities to refute them (including police apprehensions and judicial findings of aggravated burglary (to steal and destroy evidence) and perjuries and other lies by the emotionally and mentally ill false claimant. Yes, without any basis in fact or in law for sticking me there whatsover, these vagabonds of the seas of septic legal ethics put me through the mincer, the processor, the crucible of Australia’s genocidal family courts (along with more 500,000 other Australians every year, not including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbours, which quadruples this figure to 2,000,000. A shocking ratio for a nation of barely 22,000,000 citizens and a lucrative redistribution of $4bn per annum of taxes and $40 bn plus of drawn and quartered divorce estates, to Australia’s 30,000 – 40,000 family lawyers - to nourish and grow their own families, and the next generation of family lawyers) and generating mountains of economic, social and mental ill health and depression that peaks with a (successful) suicide rate in the order of 12 Aussie dads, 1.5 Aussie mums and 1 Aussie child under 18 years, every day in Australia. Why build gas chambers and steal human hair and dental gold, when you can process so many ordinary working class citizens (though indigenous families are over represented in the mix) in a way where the aboriginated victims (stripped of their freeholds, their families, exposed for having no recognised human or legal rights or dignities) are driven to taking their own lives rather than organising or rising up against their oppressors (in the great non-violent traditions of Mohindas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr, Diane Nash and Aung San Suu Kyi)?
These initial raiders even accredited specialists at what they do by that den of injustice and corruption known as the Law Institute of Victoria Limited ACN (the statutory authority of the same name was abolished, and even the use of the name “Law Institute of Victoria” was, er, outlawed, by the Kennett Government in Victoria in the late 1990s (an amazing political achievement and unprecedented public service by then Premier Jeff Kennett and the men and women of his administration and parliament), only for the lawyerocracy to be renewed, and reinvigorated, and even handed back the “Law Instititute of Victoria” moniker, by the corrupt Bracks-Brumby-Hulls Labor Victorian administration in the middle of their decade 1998 – 2010 of reign of abysmal government corrupt and failure: click here for more information. More about this at the Lawyerocracy on Trial Hearings, 55 King Street Melbourne (the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal), beginning at 10.00 am on 21 May 2012 – click here for more information.
James Johnson, Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor