Legal Services Board v Gillespie-Jones

Elise Bant, ‘Thieving Lawyers: Trust and Fidelity in the High Court: Legal Services Board v Gillespie-Jones’ (16 August 2013).

The High Court has unanimously allowed an appeal against the decision of the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal in Legal Services Board v Gillespie-Jones. The Board had disallowed Gillespie-Jones’ claim for compensation for pecuniary loss suffered by him following an alleged default by a solicitor who had misappopriated trust money to Gillespie-Jones. The plurality held that Gillespie-Jones was not entitled to compensation under two provisions in the Act, in the first case because he could not demonstrate a pre-existing proprietary interest in the trust money sufficient to give rise to a Quistclose trust claim, and in the second because there had been no default  by the solicitor as required by the provision: the solicitor was only empowered to disburse money at the direction of his client, and that instruction had not been proven at first instance, and hence the element of ‘failure to pay or deliver’ in Gillespie-Jones’ claim could not be made out.

High Court Judgment [2013] HCA 35  14 August 2013
Result Appeal allowed
High Court Documents Gillespie-Jones
Full Court Hearing [2013] HCATrans 126 4 June 2013
Special Leave Hearing [2013] HCATrans 53 15 March 2013
Appeal from VSCA [2012] VSCA 68  19 April 2012
 VCC Judgment [2011] VCC 223  24 March 2011
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About Martin Clark

Martin Clark is a PhD Candidate and Judge Dame Rosalyn Higgins Scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Research Fellow at Melbourne Law School. He holds honours degrees in law, history and philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and an MPhil in Law from MLS. While at MLS, he worked as a researcher for several senior faculty members, was a 2012 Editor of the Melbourne Journal of International Law, tutor at MLS and various colleges, a Jessie Legatt Scholar, and attended the Center for Transnational Legal Studies Program.