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Party involved in High Court scandal unsuccessfully complains about lawyers

One of the parties involved in a High Court scandal involving a relationship between a judge and a barrister has unsuccessfully made numerous complaints against two lawyers.

user iconNaomi Neilson 07 August 2023 Big Law
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A Perth woman, known only as Mrs Charisteas, unsuccessfully attempted to appeal the Legal Profession Complaints Committee’s decision to dismiss four complaints against counsel Steven Penglis and five complaints against solicitor Warren Elder.

It had also declined to deal with an additional complaint against each of them on the basis that Mrs Charisteas did not have a “direct personal interest in the matters alleged”.


The committee found there was “no reasonable likelihood that the tribunal would find [the solicitors] guilty of either unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct,” a judgment from the West Australian State Administrative Tribunal said.

Mrs Charisteas took the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal but failed when it ruled it did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The tribunal’s deputy president Judge Henry Jackson, senior member David Aitken and member Ross Povey explained the Uniform Law provides “no right of review from a decision” of the committee for a person who is “aggrieved” by their determination.

“We are, accordingly, satisfied that the tribunal lacks jurisdiction to determine the application for review of the first respondent’s decision,” Judge Jackson, Mr Aitkin and Mr Povey concluded.

Mrs Charisteas had been one of the parties in a long-running family law dispute where it was discovered her barrister, Gillian Anderson, and the sitting judge, John Walters, had a “personal relationship” that consisted of meeting for drinks or coffee several times and “numerous” text messages for almost two years.