Legal Services Commission (LSC)

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is the regulatory body responsible for investigating and prosecuting disciplinary proceedings against lawyers and law practice employees in accordance with the Legal Profession Act 2007(Qld) (the Act). The LSC investigation and prosecution focusses on allegations of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.

Unsatisfactory professional conduct involves a substantial or consistent failure to reach or maintain a reasonable standard of competence and diligence.

Professional misconduct involves conduct ‘happening in connection with the practice of law or otherwise that would, if established, justify a finding that the practitioner is not a fit and proper person to engage in legal practice’.

Common examples of allegations faced by legal professionals include:

  • Consistent or substantial unsatisfactory professional conduct;
  • Fraud or misappropriation;
  • Gross overcharging;
  • Gross negligence;
  • Conflicts of interest;
  • Acting contrary to instructions; and
  • Misleading or dishonest conduct whether in or outside court.


Section 435 of the Act allows the Commissioner to start an investigation without having received a complaint if the Commissioner ‘believes an investigation about a matter should be started’. The Act refers to these investigations as ‘investigation matters’ but they are more commonly known as ‘own motion’ investigations.

The ‘investigation matter’ power is an important power, given that two of the Commission’s most fundamental purposes are to protect the rights of legal consumers and to promote high standards of conduct among lawyers and law firms.

An own motion investigation may be started as a result of information received from:

  • a compliance audit of an incorporated legal practice;
  • a trust account investigation;
  • a report from a court or tribunal about a lawyer’s conduct in the course of proceedings;
  • a report about a lawyer’s conduct from the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Queensland Police Service, the Office of Fair Trading or other like agency;
  • a report in the media about a lawyer or other person over whom we have jurisdiction;
  • a review of advertisements for law firms and law firm websites for compliance with the restrictions on the advertising of personal injury services; and
  • anonymous sources.

In keeping with the LSC’s overall strategy they use ‘own motion’ investigation powers to target ‘problem’ practices, especially practices that appear to be widespread that put consumers at risk.


The Act authorises the LSC to make discipline applications in either of two disciplinary bodies – the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in relation to more serious matters and the Legal Practice Committee (LPC) in relation to less serious matters.

How we can help

Investigations by professional misconduct bodies like the LSC can have serious implications for your career moving forward. Robertson O’Gorman is committed to assisting clients faced with LSC investigations in the making of oral and written submissions.