Victoria Law School
LLW5004 Lawyers’ Ethics and Professional Responsibility: Semester 2 of 2018 CASE STUDY (ASSIGNMENT PART 2)
1. About the Case Study 1.1. The Case Study is worth 20% of the total assessment for this unit. 1.2. The Case Study may be undertaken either individually or collaboratively in groups not exceeding 4 people. Group work, though recommended, is therefore OPTIONAL. 1.3. The Case Study is based on the same Facts as for the Online Quiz (Assignment Part 1) and which have been available on VU Collaborate since Week 1. For convenience, the Facts are reproduced in this document. 1.4. The Case Study is based on lectures, tutorials and content covered in the first 5 weeks of semester as well as legislation, rules and resources made available on and/or linked to VU Collaborate. 1.5. The Case Study comprises 4 questions worth 5 marks each. Each question will indicate the relevant paragraphs of the Facts that should be taken into account when answering the question. 1.6. Please use the Arial or Times New Roman font, pitch 12 or larger, for your work. 1.7. Please paginate your work and add your name and student id(s) as a header for easy identification in case it becomes necessary for your work to be printed out. 1.8. The due date for submission of your work is 11 pm Sunday 2 September 2018. Only an electronic copy is required for submission, i.e. into the drop-box on VU Collaborate. 1.9. Where the Case Study is undertaken collaboratively, only 1 member of the group needs to submit the group work on behalf of the group. When submitting group work, please include a note identifying the group members on the front page and post a similar note in VU Collaborate. 1.10. References to the Uniform Law refer to the Uniform Law contained in Schedule 1 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014.
2. Assessment Criteria, Extensions and Special Consideration Please refer to the Unit Guide and the Introduction to LLW5004 2018 slides on VU Collaborate.
13 August 2018
1. Don Trample (Trample) is a legal practitioner and principal solicitor of Trample Law, practising primarily in family law and the law of estates, probate and administration. He also dabbles in simple criminal matters such as infringements and mitigation pleas.
2. Melaniya Knovs (Mel) is Trample’s cousin and they grew up together as their families were close. Mel looks up to Trample and usually defers to his opinion in virtually all matters. Although outwardly he treats her well, privately Trample despises Mel for what he considers to be her servile character.
3. Dian Radham (Dian) is suing Mel for $250,000 in the County Court of Victoria over a commercial dispute, the details of which are not material. Her solicitors have served on Mel a writ and statement of claim.
4. On a Sunday which happens to be the second last day for filing an appearance to the writ, Mel goes to see Trample at his home and tearfully requests him to help her.
5. Trample’ first impulse is to decline Mel’s request and he suggests that she go elsewhere. He informs Mel that he does not have much experience in commercial disputes and offers to recommend her to his friend who is a commercial law specialist.
6. However, Mel beseeches Trample for help. Despite his reservations, and concerned that he may appear indifferent and uncaring to his family and relatives if he does not at least listen to what Mel has to say, Trample reluctantly agrees to interview her to get the facts.
7. Trample spends 2 hours interviewing Mel and forms the view that Mel does not have a viable defence. Without going into detail, he tersely tells Mel that she should settle the plaintiff Dian’s claim to minimise costs.
8. To his utter surprise, Mel responds by refusing to accept his advice to settle. She tells him firmly that she wants to contest and that she wants him to represent her.
9. This is a side of Mel that Trample has never seen before. In view of the following day, Monday being the deadline for filing an appearance, Trample resigns himself to his unhappy fate and grudgingly tells Mel that he would file the necessary papers for her to contest the claim.
10. Mel smiles sweetly at Trample and thanks him. He tells her to go home and to leave things to him to handle. Mel goes home happy.
Question 1: Having regard to the preceding paragraphs, discuss the obligations, if any, incumbent on Trample under the Uniform Law up to this point. (5 marks)
11. The following morning Trample prepares a Notice of Appearance on Mel’s behalf and files it in court. He calls her and requests that she come to his office in a week to sign documents.
12. Trample prepares a Defence based on his interview notes and a certificate pursuant to rule 4.09 of the County Court Civil Procedure Rules 2008 for Mel to sign. When she comes in, he gets her to sign it, telling her that it is “a formality”. There is no further discussion about the proceedings and Mel leaves after signing the certificate.
13. Trample files the Defence on Mel’s behalf together with the necessary certificates under rules 4.09 and 4.10 of the County Court Civil Procedure Rules 2008 and serves copies of the documents on Dian’s lawyers.
Question 2: Having regard to paragraphs 1 to 13, discuss the duties, if any, incumbent on Trample under any applicable rules of professional conduct up to this point. (5 marks)
Question 3: Further to Question 2, discuss the obligations, if any, incumbent on Trample under any relevant legislation apart from the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 up to this point. (5 marks)
14. A few days later, Trample prepares a costs agreement and sends it to Mel with a cover letter. The letter states that it is a “no-win, no fee arrangement” and that she should keep it for reference. The costs agreement is reproduced on the following page.
Question 4: Having regard to paragraph 14, discuss the issues, if any, arising from the costs agreement under the Uniform Law. (5 marks) Copy and paste your question here…