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447 items matching your search terms

  1. Nelson Standards Committee v Downing and Reith [2022] NZLCDT 7 (17 February 2022) [PDF, 241 KB]

    Liability / duty to complete retainer / fees payment and security for fees / advice regarding legal aid, litigation risk and whether fees may exceed recovery / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rule 4.2 / rule 9.5 / rule 11 / HELD / lawyers terminated retainer 4 weeks before JSC / not entitled to terminate, fees deferred and 7 day notice to pay arbitrary, left client stranded / did not fulfil fiduciary duties on termination  / s 7(1)(a)(ii) test met / client signed deed acknowledging debt, providing security, did not receive legal advice or explanation about effect / demand for payment and threatening interactions reprehensible / s 7(1)(a)(i) test met / failed to advise about possibility of legal aid and that fees may exceed recovery / should suggest client may be eligible for legal aid and refer to further resources / failed to re-evaluate litigation prospects once estate diminished / unsatisfactory conduct found s 12(a) / charges proved

  2. Otago Standards Committee v Duff [2022] NZLCDT 4 (21 January 2022) [PDF, 103 KB]

    Penalty / misconduct / assisted a person to avoid GST, failed to account for GST, miscoded accounts / business dealing unconnected with legal services / whether suspension from practise necessary to mark seriousness, denounce conduct and signal standards of integrity required of lawyers in all business dealings / HELD / conduct not most serious, involves private business arrangements / aggravating features include long delay in failing to pay GST and previous unsatisfactory conduct finding / mitigating feature include full payment of GST and penalties, no harm to clients and outsourced accounting responsibilities / positive references go beyond usual references, include senior criminal jury work in South Auckland, and mentoring young Māori and Pacifica lawyers / practitioner fit and proper, preventing him from doing so would risk serious loss to clients and employees /  Tribunal ordered censure, $10,000 fine / practitioner to pay Standard’s Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs 

  3. Auckland Standards Committee 2 v Brill [2022] NZLCDT 3 (21 January 2022) [PDF, 557 KB]

    Liability / charged with practising outside terms of practising certificate by providing pro bono regulated services to the public, and failing to provide client service information and act independently / represented his wife and eight others in litigation before courts / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 9 / section 69 / section 94 / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rule 3.4 / rule 3.5 / rule 5 / rule 5.6 / HELD / misconduct found per s 9 / practitioner employed, not entitled to practice on own account / putting issue of wife to one side, other parties clearly constituted “the public” / clients exposed to significant adverse costs award including an uplift for practitioner’s conduct / breaches of rr 3.4, 3.5 and 5 are unsatisfactory conduct per ss 12(a) or 12(b)(ii) / charges under s 7(1)(a)(iii) a duplication of s 9 charges / misconduct and unsatisfactory conduct proved

  4. National Standards Committee 1 v Gardner-Hopkins [2022] NZLCDT 2 (13 January 2022) [PDF, 211 KB]

    Penalty / found guilty of six charges of misconduct for six incidents of exploitative sexual contact with five different women at two work events / partner in law firm offended against summer clerks / seriousness of conduct / aggravating features / mitigating factors / strike-off starting point / HELD / misconduct serious, somewhat below Horsley or Daniels cases, where practitioners were suspended three years / aggravating features include repetition, power imbalance, incalculable impact on victims, and intention to get drunk / mitigating features include consequences already incurred, changes made, and financial circumstances / has previously minimised his responsibility, but relatively recent changes in accepting accountability are positive although belated / financial circumstances not defining nor as dire as claimed / caused reputation damage to profession / Tribunal ordered censure and two-year suspension / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s costs  and Tribunal costs

  5. National Standards Committee 1 v Reed [2021] NZLCDT 31 (2 December 2021) [PDF, 122 KB]

    Penalty / misconduct / duty of candour / failure to disclose relevant information to High Court in without notice application / whether suspension necessary / HELD / one-off reckless breach / no deliberate omission / no aggravating features / no prior disciplinary history / unable to cope with growth of sole practice / merged with large law firm to manage capacity, disclosed investigation, acknowledged failings and has support and supervision / Tribunal considered no risk of practitioner repeating conduct / high level of remorse, insight and responsibility for actions / practitioner incurred significant cost in disciplinary proceedings / notable community involvement and pro bono contributions / practitioner sought to use experience to educate young women about learning from mistakes / suspension not necessary / Tribunal ordered censure and $15,000 fine / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs / interim suppression order of practitioner’s name discharged

  6. Waikato Bay of Plenty Standards Committee 1 v Jacobsen [2021] NZLCDT 28 (1 November 2021) [PDF, 108 KB]

    Penalty / practitioner admitted two charges of misconduct and found guilty of another / conveyancing transaction involving transfer of property owned by practitioner mother to company owned by the practitioner and her husband / practitioner then borrowed additional money against the property / conflict of interest / failing to protect client’s interests / misleading conduct / appropriate penalty / HELD / practitioner did not present risk to other clients or public / no need for fine or censure / features of misconduct (inattention to practitioner’s mother and securing additional funds against the property) understandable although grievous / Tribunal ordered 10-week suspension / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs

  7. Auckland Standards Committee 4 v O'Boyle [2021] NZLCDT 27 (29 October 2021) [PDF, 170 KB]

    Penalty / misconduct for sending letters containing false allegations and speculation to employers of people involved in family court case / HELD / Standards Committee’s penalty submissions focused on a punitive outcome / penalty can pursue more than one goal / Tribunal needs to disapprove of misconduct, but compensation and rehabilitation also relevant / practitioner needs to be challenged about her practice and to account for her choices / required to undertake professional supervision for a minimum of one year / ordered to compensate each victim $3,000 / Tribunal ordered six-week suspension / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs

  8. Auckland Standards Committee 2 v Nguy [2021] NZLCDT 26 (21 October 2021) [PDF, 117 KB]

    Penalty / practitioner admitted misconduct for misappropriation of $1 million / accepted they would be struck off / did not accept further charge of obstructing and frustrating the Standards Committee’s investigative processes / whether practitioner liable for obstruction / if so, whether misconduct or unsatisfactory conduct / HELD / obstruction charge made out / practitioner failed to provide files and documents despite repeated requests / behaviour cannot be ignored even though practitioner will inevitably be struck off / message needs to be sent to the legal community and the community at large that this behaviour is serious / obstruction was misconduct / conduct not excused by practitioner’s mental stress / Tribunal ordered practitioner be struck off and imposed censure for obstruction / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs

  9. Otago Standards Committee v Duff [2021] NZLCDT 25 (2 September 2021) [PDF, 168 KB]

    Liability / practitioner assisted a person to avoid GST in his property development business, outside his legal practice / then failed to account for GST / personal misconduct / whether conduct misconduct / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 7(1)(b) / HELD / although IRD declined to pursue action, Tribunal obliged to determine charges laid / offer to complete job as a “cashie” and subsequent accounting miscoding demonstrates intention to assist tax avoidance /  disregard of practitioner’s tax and company law obligations / not a fit and proper person to be a lawyer at that time / s 7(1)(b)(ii) test met / misconduct charge proved

  10. National Standards Committee 1 v Reed [2021] NZLCDT 23 (27 July 2021) [PDF, 153 KB]

    Liability / duty of candour / failure to disclose relevant information to High Court in without notice application / whether conduct is misconduct / High Court Rules 2016, rule 32.2 / Lawyers and Conveyancers (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rule 2.1 / rule 13.1 / HELD / should have disclosed a refused analogous Family Court application, a claim by opposing party, and a potential defence  / outcome of proceedings affected / practitioner’s explanation to Tribunal differed from submissions to Committee / reckless breach of duty of candour / practitioner’s forum shopping of “significant concern” / misconduct charge proved / Tribunal could not infer deliberate omission of documents without evidence from employee / practitioner obliged to provide as much information as available to assist Tribunal / interim name suppression granted

  11. National Standards Committee 1 v Gardner-Hopkins [2021] NZLCDT 21 (22 June 2021) [PDF, 360 KB]

    Liability / practitioner charged with misconduct for six incidents, involving physical/sexual contact, or intimate touching against multiple summer clerks at two firm social events while intoxicated / whether conduct is professional or personal / whether conduct accidental / section 239 / HELD / firm-sponsored team building activities not unconnected with provision of legal services / applicable standard is professional misconduct under s 7(1)(a) / summer clerks’ evidence accepted and compelling / conduct disgraceful or dishonourable or a reckless breach of rule 12 for failing to model required standards of behaviour / also meets higher misconduct threshold for personal conduct / partner obliged to model appropriate behaviour for junior staff, self-regulate to ensure propriety and not abuse power imbalances / conduct not accidental / evidence of previous conduct around women relevant / practitioner’s evidence evolved over disciplinary process, explanations unreliable.

  12. Auckland Standards Committee 1 v Choi [2021] NZLCDT 20 (2 June 2021) [PDF, 93 KB]

    Penalty / practitioner admitted charge laid under s 241(d) / conviction for obstructing the exercise of power under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 / practitioner nominated his company to acquire land his purchaser client did not have Overseas Investment Office (OIO) consent to acquire / also provided false information and a false loan document to OIO / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 241(d) / HELD / dishonesty conviction very serious / prior unsatisfactory conduct finding an aggravating feature / mitigating features include early acceptance of guilt, remorse, contribution to Korean community, and practitioner’s financial circumstances / Tribunal ordered suspension of just under six months / practitioner to pay Tribunal costs

  13. Auckland Standards Committee 2 v Johnson [2021] NZLCDT 19 (28 May 2021) [PDF, 132 KB]

    Penalty / admitted misconduct / practitioner-controlled company was nominally owed a debt truly owned by a trust / practitioner agreed to settle debt without trustee approval / paid $70,000 to persons not connected to the trust, taking some of the remainder as fees / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 243(1)(g) / HELD / no uplift in penalty for prior findings of professional negligence and misconduct / Tribunal concerned with practitioner’s practice / practitioner failed to protect the trust’s interests / paid money to other persons / applied money to fees without authority / defended proceedings / mitigating factors included admission of facts and contribution to community / Tribunal ordered censure, 12-month suspension and prohibition on practising on their own account, in partnership or otherwise, until authorised by Tribunal / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs / no reason to depart from general rule practitioner must pay costs

  14. Waikato Bay of Plenty Standards Committee 1 v Jacobsen [2021] NZLCDT 18 (25 May 2021) [PDF, 186 KB]

    Liability / practitioner acted on conveyancing transaction for her mother in conflict of interest / whether practitioner engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct towards her mother / promised to document arrangement and to register a caveat / whether promises dishonestly made / practitioner admitted two other misconduct charges / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 7(1)(a) / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rule 11.1 / HELD / assuring her mother that her interest in the property would be protected, and promising to document the transaction but not doing so, was likely to mislead or deceive / misleading representations comprise a form of recklessness, wilful blindness / s 7(1)(a)(ii) test met / misconduct charge proved

  15. Auckland Standards Committee 2 v Name Suppressed [2021] NZLCDT 17 (24 May 2021) [PDF, 93 KB]

    Penalty / trust account administrator stole $2,570 from firm / admitted wrongdoing and fully cooperated with employer and Law Society / whether order prohibiting employment by a lawyer or incorporated law firm should be imposed / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 240 / section 242(1)(h)(ii) / HELD / Tribunal made order prohibiting employment by a lawyer or incorporated law firm / granted permanent name suppression and prohibited publication of administrator’s name / thefts unlike usual behaviour / little likelihood of repeating this action / Tribunal did not regard administrator as someone about whom the public needed to be warned / hearing was public and those who need to know will be advised of identity / permanent suppression of material recording personal stressors / administrator has behaved in exemplary manner to bring matter to conclusion and has brought on herself severe and ongoing consequences / accordingly no costs ordered against administrator

  16. National Standards Committee 2 v Paulson Wilson [2021] NZLCDT 16 (14 May 2021) [PDF, 177 KB]

    Liability and penalty / relationship with a prisoner for whom the practitioner had previously acted as an employee lawyer / practitioner’s employer declined to act for the prisoner, but the practitioner continued contact in dishonest circumstances / whether conduct misconduct / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 7(1)(a) / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rule 2 / rule 2.4 / rule 5.7 / rule 11.1 / rule 12 / HELD / conduct occurred while providing regulated services / conduct disgraceful and dishonourable / serious end of misconduct spectrum / breach of relationship of trust and degree of deception involved / mitigating factor that practitioner had only worked as an employee lawyer for three months prior / offending lasted six days / Tribunal ordered 12-month suspension and prohibited to practice on own account until authorised by Tribunal / practitioner to pay half of costs sought by Standards Committee ($7,000) and Tribunal’s costs

  17. Auckland Standards Committee 4 v O'Boyle [2021] NZLCDT 15 (29 April 2021) [PDF, 381 KB]

    Liability / care of children proceedings / practitioner sent letters to various parties containing false allegations and speculation regarding hacking of social media accounts, and seeking IP addresses / misconduct or unsatisfactory conduct / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 7(1)(a) / section 12 / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rule 12 / HELD / Tribunal found misconduct / sending letters with knowledge they would cause difficulties for the ex‑partner and their new partner in employment / making false assertions and raising false inferences / sending letters to a party unrelated to the matters / giving negative views about the ex-partner and their new partner’s alleged wrongdoing / repeated assertion to Committee that Notes of Evidence supported practitioner’s stance was deliberately misleading / wilful and reckless contraventions of r 12 / alternatively, unsatisfactory conduct

  18. Auckland Standards Committee 4 v Schlooz [2021] NZLCDT 12 ( 14 April 2021) [PDF, 400 KB]

    Penalty / misconduct for corresponding with another person in an offensive, abusive and threatening manner / District Court granted harassment order against practitioner and condemned conduct / HELD / survey of principles of deterrence and denunciation / at the most serious end of the scale / aggravating factors include repeated nature of conduct, use of language against unrepresented party, misogyny in abusive comments, persistent conduct after being told to stop, and the lack of prompt apology and insight / mitigating that practitioner pled guilty, previous good character, and the effect of suspension on practitioner’s financial commitments and clients / Tribunal ordered four-month suspension and censure / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs

  19. Auckland Standards Committee 4 v Shand [2021] NZLCDT 9 (31 March 2021) [PDF, 108 KB]

    Penalty / practitioner admitted unsatisfactory conduct for failing to provide file to Standards Committee when requested and continuing to do so for 18 months / suspension or fine / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 3 / HELD / censure and fine may not be enough to motivate practitioner to comply with the Committee’s demands / practitioner had history of adverse disciplinary findings, indicating “a practice with several aspects of laxity” / practitioner’s actions and prior history raised suspension as a fair prospect / Tribunal ordered finding of unsatisfactory conduct, $8,000 fine, and censure / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs / client granted permanent name suppression

  20. Auckland Standards Committee 4 v Kennelly [2021] NZLCDT 8 (23 March 2021) [PDF, 120 KB]

    Penalty / unsatisfactory conduct for failing to pay compensation as ordered in a timely manner / HELD / full range of penalties available when unsatisfactory conduct charged proved, but misconduct is more serious than unsatisfactory conduct / failure to comply with disciplinary sanctions typically considered unsatisfactory conduct / LCRO reviewed compensation order / non-compliance with order runs from date of LCRO decision / Tribunal ordered censure, practitioner to compensate client $600 for loss of use of money, and to pay $6,000 fine and Standards Committee’s full costs, and Tribunal’s costs

  21. Auckland Standards Committee 2 v Halse [2021] NZLCDT 7 (19 March 2021) [PDF, 177 KB]

    Penalty / practitioner admitted unsatisfactory conduct by failing to alert complainant and the complainant’s business entities that practitioner was personally contributing to loans from their client / appropriate penalty / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rule 5.4.1 / rule 5.4.2 / HELD / censure not appropriate, as oversight did not prejudice client / Tribunal had no underlying concern about practitioner’s professional practice / ordered $5,000 fine / permanent name suppression for provider, client and associated entities / costs hearing to follow

  22. Auckland Standards Committee 2 v Vujnovich [2021] NZLCDT 1 (5 February 2021) [PDF, 86 KB]

    Penalty / misconduct for providing regulated services to the public other than in the course of her employment / inadvertent but serious technical breach of s 9(1) / lawfully provided trust administration services prior to admission / Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, section 9(1) / HELD / continued to carry on trust administration while employed as solicitor / mitigating factors include unintentional breach, conduct stopped in 2015, and otherwise blameless record / name suppression declined as threshold to displace presumption of open justice not reached / risk to current firm is slight / Tribunal ordered censure / practitioner to pay Standards Committee’s and Tribunal’s costs

  23. Nelson Lawyers Standards Committee v Stevenson [2020] NZLCDT 42 (15 December 2020) [PDF, 380 KB]

    Penalty / practitioner admitted misconduct in relation to threats towards police sergeant, conduct in court and from alcohol consumption / appropriate penalty / HELD / high end of misconduct spectrum / previous unsatisfactory conduct finding for similar issues / poor performance by practitioner required setting aside a conviction and retrial / adversely affects criminal justice system / has repeatedly attempted to achieve abstinence without success / admitted charges of misconduct and has already had lengthy suspension / Tribunal ordered 18-month suspension from date of hearing / practitioner must give undertakings and obtain a supervisor to report on sobriety / Tribunal recommended practitioner be required to show fitness for practice prior to being granted a practising certificate / practitioner ordered to pay 50 per cent of the Standards Committee’s costs and 50 per cent of Tribunal’s costs / medical and personal details suppressed