The power to fire a criminal lawyer in Melbourne is entirely up to the client.
Yet there are lines that are crossed that will ensure higher authorities step in and disbar them from the profession altogether.
Identifying unprofessional conduct is not always an easy process but when it takes place, it is the duty of others to pinpoint them and take immediate action.
Papa Hughes Lawyers have outline some key examples to illustrate when dismissal or disbarment is appropriate:
Misappropriating Client Funds
The single greatest threat that a client faces when engaging a criminal lawyer in Melbourne is that their funds can be misappropriated. A large portion of individuals who are disbarred from the profession have committed this offence in some shape or form, taking their income and using it for personal reasons outside of their case or outside of the firm. The agreement in these instances will see a defendant or victim engage a firm and pay them for representation, investing in research resources, travel expenses, filing of paperwork and a myriad of tasks pertaining to the profession. Should they spend these funds on sports cars, vacations and personal gifts, then they are acting in an unprofessional manner unbecoming of a solicitor in Victoria.
Failing To Represent Client Interests
A client will call upon a criminal lawyer in Melbourne under the agreement that they are there is reflect and represent their personal interests. This will occur even when their advised counsel has been given and their recommendations passed on, knowing that the information will be taken onboard or overlooked for a different course of action. Should the solicitor seek to strike plea deals or operate in a way that is contrary to those interests, that will be grounds for dismissal.
Operating Under Conflict of Interest
Should a criminal lawyer in Melbourne face the conflict of having a conflict of interest in a case, then that is an immediate red flag where they have to do the right thing and step down from that position. Offering legal counsel when they could stand to gain from their client’s imprisonment or even from a not guilty verdict outside of their professional remit is a signal that they are not in a healthy position to undertake the task. Should personal or financial stakes impede with the matter at hand and they are driven by external factors, that is grounds for dismissal.
Committing a Felony or Crime Themselves
From blackmail and assault to drink driving and drug possession, there is nothing to suggest that a criminal lawyer in Melbourne cannot be guilty of committing a crime themselves. Disbarment can be the least of their concerns as these individuals can indeed face imprisonment without the capacity to work in the legal profession ever again. Certain individuals can become embroiled in illegal activity through their representation, but others will engage in nefarious activities in spite of these contacts.
Operating Without a Certified and Current License
Whilst a criminal lawyer in Melbourne won’t be able to step foot into a courtroom without a current and certified license, there have been a handful of examples where they will open their doors for business under the guise of being a professional operator. This is a case of fraud that can lead to its own criminal trial as the individual is left to believe that they are a current practitioner when their license has been revoked or expired. Becoming a barrister in the first place in Victoria requires passing an entrance examination and a readers course whilst having the requisite credentials from university. Without this minimum threshold being passed, no one can pretend to be a practicing lawyer.