An appeal against the refusal by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to renew a solicitor’s practising certificate for not being a fit and proper person. The appellant designed a ‘diamond model’ which misrepresented a consumer credit loan service as a business where customers purchased and sold diamonds. The intention was to avoid compliance with the maximum annual percentage rate for a credit contract under legislation. ASIC took action against the appellant and prohibited the appellant from engaging in credit activities for 3 years. The appellant sought a review of the decision, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal increased the prohibition to 5 years.
Two of the 15 grounds of appeal asserted were that the Tribunal’s decision did not sufficiently consider his autism spectrum disorder and that the Tribunal’s decision involved discrimination on the basis of his impairment, contrary to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld). The appellant argued that his condition meant he was operating within the law.
The Court upheld the Tribunal’s findings that the appellant was not a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate. Although the appellant’s diagnosis was accepted, it held little weight against other considerations which included: the appellant’s significant role in the design and implementation of the model; the appellant’s failure to disclose his five-year credit activity prohibition when applying to renew his practising certificate; and the appellant’s lack of remorse in relation to his conduct.
The judgment is published here.