December 8, 2023


A Passion for Better Health

Solicitor loses court docket combat against NSW Bar above mental health conclusions

A solicitor who was refused a barrister’s practising certification owing to considerations she was mentally unfit to hold one particular has failed in yet an additional endeavor to reverse the NSW Bar Association’s selection.

About five several years just after she very first took the Bar Association to courtroom about its refusal to grant her a practising certificate, solicitor Connie Louise Picos has at the time yet again failed to overturn the final decision and have the NSW Supreme Courtroom ascertain she is “fit and proper” to practise.

Late final week, Justice Fabian Gleeson, together with Justice Mark Leeming and Justice Anthony Payne, dismissed a few applications brought by Ms Picos in the Courtroom of Attraction and designed a discovering that she had not been denied procedural fairness in associated proceedings.

Ms Picos, who held a solicitor’s practising certification for the 2019–20 monetary year, used to hold a barrister’s practising certification in August 2019 soon after passing the bar examination earlier in the yr.

In the application, Ms Picos disclosed adverse credit rating conclusions had been produced against her and that she experienced been included in other litigation as a celebration. She also disclosed she was addressed for schizophrenia but had not required guidance due to the fact May possibly 2018.

Ms Picos was examined in September 2019 at the ask for of the Bar Affiliation, and a psychiatrist described her “unstable mental state” meant she was not at present fit to hold a practising certificate.

At this time, she commenced proceedings in the Supreme Courtroom.

Responding to Ms Picos’ report from her personal physician disputing this, the Bar Affiliation extra that even with no the psychological wellness findings, her perform in “historical and current” proceedings was “inconsistent with the fantastic character (or conditioning and propriety) envisioned of associates of the practising profession”.

Ms Picos withdrew her application for a barristers’ practising certification but produced a 2nd software in November 2019.

When this was refused in December, Ms Picos sought go away to file an amended summons looking for interim and closing relief. She did not physical exercise the suitable of overview of the Bar Council’s determination.

Justice Francois Kunc dismissed this software.

In April this 12 months, and even with becoming out of time, Ms Picos used to attraction Justice Kunc’s orders and filed a summons trying to find a judicial evaluate of the Bar Association’s December 2019 determination.

Ms Picos alleged the Bar Association’s decision was “invalid” simply because the NSW Law Modern society experienced granted her a practising certification, which she said intended she was a “fit and correct person”.

Individually, by see of motion in January 2022, Ms Picos brought contempt fees thanks to an alleged breach of suppression orders built in a 2015 proceeding in which she was a party.

Ms Picos alleged several customers of the Bar Council and its solicitors experienced breached the suppression buy through the process of thinking about no matter whether she was a in shape and appropriate person.

In February 2022, a registrar established these orders apart and, adhering to Ms Picos’ obstacle of this decision, Justice Jeremy Kirk dismissed her application and revoked the suppression get.

In the Court docket of Enchantment in August this 12 months, Ms Picos requested depart to attraction the summons designed by Justice Kunc, judicial evaluate of the Bar Association’s December 2019 final decision, and notice of motion looking for to differ or discharge Justice Kirk’s orders.

Justice Gleeson dismissed all 3 applications.

The courtroom found there was no jurisdictional mistake in the Bar’s choice, and no error was found in Justice Kirk’s orders.

Further more, it located the Legislation Society’s choice to grant Ms Picos a practising certification “did not operate as a constraint” on the Bar’s discretionary powers or on its obligation not to grant Ms Picos a certificate “if it found she was not a healthy and correct person”.