New Zealand Law Society - 2022


Acting as an attorney under an EPA (property) while donor client may still be mentally capable – duty to communicate with client

A Standards Committee has disciplined a lawyer where he acted as attorney for an elderly client over several years under an enduring power of attorney (EPA) in relation to property, that came into effect while she was still mentally capable.

Lawyer breaches undertaking to limit his areas of practice

A Standards Committee found that a lawyer breached an undertaking he had given to a Practice Approval Committee (PAC) to limit his work to a particular area of the law. It determined that amounted to unsatisfactory conduct. It censured him and ordered him to pay a fine of…

Closing or selling law practice – client authorisation required to transfer trust funds

A Standards Committee found that a lawyer’s conduct had been unsatisfactory when, upon retirement and sale of his practice, he transferred trust money to the new firm’s trust account without any evidence he had the authority or instruction of any client to do so. The Committee censured the retired lawyer…

Careless handling of expert evidence

A Standards Committee has voiced its concern over the conduct of a defence lawyer who edited a forensic report and, without waiting for the report writer’s agreement, submitted the amended report as a “brief” to the prosecution. However, because of the junior status of the lawyer, the Committee “adopted an…

Barrister sole practised as a solicitor in breach of the conduct and client care rules

A Standards Committee found that a barrister sole practised as a solicitor when acting for a franchisee on the sale of its business, in breach of the Conduct and Client Care Rules. The Committee censured the barrister, ordered him to cancel his fees of close to $50,000 and fined him…

Barrister used lawyer as “post-box solicitor” without his permission

A Standards Committee has found a barrister engaged in unsatisfactory conduct where he recorded a lawyer as his instructing solicitor on documents filed in court, without that lawyer’s knowledge or permission. The Committee also considered it unsatisfactory that the barrister failed to comply with his subsequent undertaking to that lawyer…

Poor communication leads to a finding of unsatisfactory conduct

A lawyer who failed to respond to his client’s enquiries in a timely manner has been found to have engaged in unsatisfactory conduct and fined $1,000 by a Standards Committee.

Refusal to provide copy of letter of engagement in context of fees dispute

A Standards Committee determined that two lawyers who refused to provide a copy of their letter of engagement to their former client’s new lawyers breached the Conduct and Client Care Rules. The Committee reprimanded the lawyers and ordered them to pay fines totalling $2,000.

Lawyer’s behaviour at professional social event determined to be unsatisfactory conduct

A Standards Committee determined that a lawyer’s conduct towards another lawyer at a professional dinner and dance was unsatisfactory.

Initiating contact with a juror

A Standards Committee concluded that a lawyer initiated contact with a jury foreperson in breach of the Conduct and Client Care Rules when the lawyer spoke with a colleague of the foreperson at a local café. The Committee determined that was unsatisfactory conduct and censured the lawyer and ordered her…