We should be celebrating, having filed the first of our critical class actions, the Detention Towers. However, we are defending ourselves from a serious attack aimed to shut us down. This attack has come from the Victorian Legal Services Board (VLSB), regulators for the Victorian government, the very government this particular class action is challenging.
Instead of ventilating these issues through proper Court process, they seek to simply shut us down, and in the process silence you and many thousands who form part of the National Class Action that is to be filed next.
What is upsetting is that the basis of their claims is tied to two cases where Serene is representing vulnerable women on a pro-bono basis; these cases are the subject of serious family violence, and child sexual abuse. Serene called out what appears to be cover-ups of important disclosures, and for this she is being accused of undermining the public's confidence in the administration of justice.
Serene represents hundreds of people before judges in the Courts. These "complaints" have not come from our clients. They have been instigated by the two judges sitting on the cases mentioned above. The VLSB is now building a case to try to shut us down, because Serene has dared to question irregular, unfair and inequitable practices, and attempted to protect her clients from danger.
Advocate Me has been subject to trust account audits, where we have shown to be compliant. The complaints have not come from any clients and do not relate to mismanagement of trust monies, yet the VLSB seem determined to revoke Serene's practicing license and have also taken aim at the National Class Action, seeking confidential information that could expose private details and technical aspects of our arguments to those named defendants in our actions.
The VLSB wants to place a person of their choosing into the firm to handle these actions. Yes, a person appointed by the government, to manage actions against the government! This is a clear conflict of interest and Serene will not submit to their demands for the details of our clients, especially in the absence of any complaint of misconduct, and in the absence of our clients instructions.
Serene has made a video asking for immediate whistleblower protection against this incursion from the government regulators. The video goes through the issues at length. Please listen here and share it far and wide.
We should be able to question poor decisions made by people in power, as they are not beyond reproach. When this is not allowed, corruption is able to creep in, but this attack shows their determination to silence and eliminate any opposition to their power.
The citizens of this country are the victims of government overreach of power. Serene has been a vehicle for your voice. We knew that we would be challenged, but we expected it to be on the merits of our legal arguments that are defending your rights. We cannot let them take that away from us now, as we are so close to filing.
Our continued unity is vital to the success of this movement.
This movement is about:
· fair process and procedure.
· informed consent,
· evidence-based science, and
· proper execution of the law.
This movement is the community becoming involved in making this country a transparent and fair playing field for all.
The actions of the VLSB clearly challenge the notion of impartiality in justice, which we have been taught to expect. These actions are designed to stop true justice from being done, to remove your right to be heard, and to silence your voices from telling apparently uncomfortable truths.
With your ongoing commitment, we will continue our fight for transparency, fairness, and the right to be heard so we can get you your day in court.
Advocate Me Team
Below is an outline from the VLSB about what they wish to do. We have not provided you with the entire complaint because it contains some very sensitive information about clients, which Serene is not prepared to reveal to ensure her clients mentioned are protected.
98. If the Board cancels your Australian practising certificate, you will be disqualified from being the principal of the law practice. This will likely necessitate the Board taking steps to appoint an independent third party to take control of the law practice in accordance with the external intervention scheme contained in Chapter 6 of the Uniform Law.
99. Specifically, section 326 of the Uniform Law provides that one of the circumstances that warrants an external intervention is where a legal practitioner associate involved in the law practice ceases to hold a current Australian practising certificate (section 326(a) of the Uniform Law)
100. The purposes of an external intervention are detailed in section 323 of the Uniform Law and include protecting the interests of: the general public, clients and law practices and others, including the owners and employees of law practices, so far as their interests are not inconsistent with those of the general public and clients (section 323(a) of the Uniform Law).
101. If it becomes necessary for the Board to appoint an external intervenor, it is most likely that it will be a Manager within the meaning of Part 6.4 of the Uniform Law. The Manager is empowered to carry on the law practice and may do all things that the law practice or a legal practitioner associate of the law practice might lawfully have done, including but not limited to:
a. Transacting business of the law practices;
b. Transacting business on behalf of the clients, including –
i. Commencing, continuing, defending or settling any proceedings; and
ii. Receiving, retaining and disposing of property;
c. Accepting instructions from new clients and transacting any business on their behalf,
i. Commencing, continuing, defending or settling proceedings; and
ii. Receiving, retaining and disposing of regulated property;
d. Charging and recording legal costs, including legal costs for work in progress at the
time of the Manager’s appointment;
e. Entering into, executing or performing any agreement; and
f. Winding up the affairs of the law practice.
102. You will be required to comply with the lawful directions of the Manager and must not do anything to obstruct the Manager in exercising a function under the Uniform Law. In the event that you do obstruct the Manager, you may be liable to a civil penalty and the Board may seek injunctive relief against you.
103. The Manager is entitled to be paid fees by way of remuneration and to recover the legal costs and the expenses incurred in fulfilling their duties. These costs are payable by the law practice and the Manager will render accounts to the law practice accordingly.
104. Section 358 of the Uniform Law provides a right of appeal to the Supreme Court against the Manager’s appointment; however, specifies that any appeal must be lodged within 7 days after service of the Notice of Appointment.
105. If you wish to discuss any aspects of the possible external intervention, please contact xxxxxx xxxxx on xx xxxx xxxx.
Request for documents and/or information
106. In considering whether or not to grant, renew, vary, suspend, or cancel an Australian
practising certificate, the Board may require the legal practitioner to give it specific
documents or information. Failure to comply with such a notice is a ground for making an
adverse decision (section 95(2) of the Uniform Law).
107. I require you to provide me with the following, pursuant to section 95(1)(a) and (d) of the Uniform Law:
a. I understand that you have sought advice from barristers on the merits of the claim
with respect to the National Class Action. Please provide me with details as to:
i. How many barristers you have consulted with regarding the merits of the claim.
ii. What proportion of those barristers considered the claim to have merit.
iii. Whether any barristers have now accepted the brief.
b. I understand that you have yet to initiate the claim with respect to the National Class
Action. Please provide an explanation for the delay.
c. I understand that you are currently holding approximately $654,000 in your trust
account in respect of the National Class Action:
i. Please provide details of each client that has signed up to the National Class
Action, including their Costs Agreements and Disclosure Statements.
ii. Please provide each clients associated trust ledger and a copy of the most recent
d. I understand that you have sought donations for a number of campaigns:
i. Please provide the details for the donations account(s).
ii. Please confirm how much is in the donations account(s).
e. Please provide the address from which you are currently practising.
108. Please provide your response to the above within 5 days from the date of this notice.