This series of articles is about the mechanism for referring any contentious issues that may arise in an estate to a court or a regulator charged with overseeing the conduct, actions and remuneration of insolvency practitioners – our third umpires.
Practitioners constantly deal with a number of parties who are not happy with the circumstances of the insolvency, and not happy with a number of decisions that they make. Those who disagree with the practitioner’s decisions need to know that there is an avenue of review and appeal.
The practice of insolvency needs to have a mechanism that provides for an independent third party to review decisions made by practitioners and fees that they charge. Most practitioners will welcome any review by a third umpire because often they have been trying to convince the complainant of their position on an issue for some time. Passing the issue to the third umpire for review normally overcomes that deadlock, but not always.
There is not one insolvency third umpire; there are many all dealing within their statutory area of responsibility. Some of them are:
General and Professional
- The Insolvency Practitioners Association
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants
- CPA Australia
- Supreme or Federal Court
- The Inspector General in Bankruptcy
- Bankruptcy Regulation Branch
- Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- Federal Court
- Taxing Officer
Worrells, as would most firms, also has a complaints procedure through the “Feedback and Complaints” link on our website. The policy was settled and placed on our web site about six years ago. Since that time we have only had three or four complaints processed through it. This may mean that there are not many complaints, or people just do not feel that they can raise complaints or know how to make them. Unfortunately we do not know the answer to this.
If the issue cannot be resolved by this process, the party must have an alternative avenue. Next month we start looking at where else they can take their complaints.