A former solicitor, Mr Anthony Coleman of Yarraville, has been sentenced to nine months in prison (suspended for 18 months) after pleading guilty to nine charges in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 14 May 2013 for breaches of the Legal Profession Act 2004. Mr Coleman was also fined $13,000 and ordered to pay $20,000 in costs to the Legal Services Board. (more…)
RPA News. Regulation. Prosecutions. Action.
A solicitor who was denied a practising certificate by the Legal Services Board in 2010 has had his appeal against the Board’s decision dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
Mr David Forster of Frankston law firm Whistleblowers Lawyers, and also previously of the law firm Hollows Lawyers (in receivership), was refused a practising certificate by the Board in 2010 due to concerns about his fitness and suitability to engage in legal practice. (more…)
A Melbourne barrister has been found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to meet his tax obligations.
Mr Nigel Turner had been previously charged by the Legal Services Commissioner in 2012 with professional misconduct after being convicted on 27 tax offences in the Magistrates Court. The convictions covered a period of approximately 10 years and included failure to lodge income tax returns, failure to lodge business activity statements, failure to disclose income received, and failure to make provision for and pay income tax and GST. (more…)
A solicitor working for a government agency has been found guilty of two charges of professional misconduct and prohibited from practising for three months in a decision handed down by VCAT.
Mr Elias Rallis, employed in a senior government position, was found to have breached an undertaking he gave to the Commissioner in 2012 involving payment of costs following an earlier misconduct finding. No misconduct occurred in connection to government work. (more…)
A Melbourne solicitor who lied to the regulator and falsified documents has been reprimanded and had his practising certificate cancelled. Mr Nabil El Hissi, of Narre Warren, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of professional misconduct in VCAT following an investigation by the Legal Services Commissioner. (more…)
A Kew solicitor was ordered to pay $11,000 in legal costs and had his practicing certificate suspended after being found guilty of eight charges of professional misconduct.
Mr Andrew Burgess, a partner at the firm Henderson &Ball, appeared in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in March where the eight charges were heard before Her Honour, Judge Jenkins of the County Court. (more…)
A practitioner who worked as a corporate lawyer for more than two years without holding a current practising certificate has pleaded guilty to 16 charges of misconduct.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that Mr Andrew Nguyen of Maribyrnong had not renewed his corporate practising certificate after it expired in June 2009. Despite this he continued to work as an in-house lawyer for a prominent retail chain, even being involved in litigation in the Supreme Court on behalf of his employer. (more…)
The Magistrates Court has found a former lay associate of a law firm guilty for failing to disclose a previous dishonesty offence.
Mr John Leo Lelleton of Fitzroy was employed as a paralegal in 2009 by the East Brighton law firm, Darroll Nelson and Co. Because Mr Lelleton had been found guilty of receiving property by deception in 1996, he was required to inform the practice that he had a previous finding of guilt for a dishonesty offence. However the firm was never informed. (more…)
A Mildura solicitor has been reprimanded for mishandling trust monies and was ordered to pay $10,875 in costs. Mr Colin Chadwick of the former firm Chadwick Lawyers and Associates was charged after a trust account inspection found trust money had been banked into incorrect accounts and a payment had not been made, despite records showing otherwise. (more…)
A Warrnambool solicitor has been fined $13,000 for misconduct after failing to lodge or re-lodge caveats over properties to secure the interests of the vendor. (more…)
A Melbourne solicitor has been struck off the roll of legal practitioners after being convicted over serious offences involving theft.
Mr Mohsin Chakera, of Chakeras Lawyers, was struck off by consent in the Supreme Court of Victoria. (more…)
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled that causing a deficiency in a trust account can be sufficiently serious to constitute professional misconduct.
Mr William Hamish McGregor, of Ballarat firm Baird and McGregor, was found guilty of professional misconduct for causing a deficiency in his firm’s trust account after establishing a ‘round robin’ of cheques between several bank accounts. (more…)
In an extremely rare event, the Supreme Court of Victoria has sentenced a Melbourne solicitor to prison for one month for contempt of court.
Mr David Brian Forster, former principal of Hollows Lawyers (in receivership) and current principal of Whistleblowers Lawyers of Frankston, committed the act of contempt by breaching an earlier order of the Supreme Court. (more…)
A solicitor pleaded guilty to misconduct charges before VCAT in November 2012 for misleading his client.
Mr John Powell, of Doncaster East, told his client that he had issued a writ and was proceeding with a personal injuries claim for his client’s son who was injured in 2001 at a Primary School. The solicitor pretended for nine years that the case was in hand and progressing normally. He dishonestly advised his client that the delay was caused by the other side’s lawyer. In fact the solicitors representing the Primary School had already closed their file due to inaction. (more…)
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has confirmed that charging clients based upon a percentage of damages or costs awarded to the client in a court proceeding amounts to professional misconduct.
In November 2012 VCAT found Mr John Barrett, a sole practitioner practising in Melbourne, guilty of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct in relation to a costs disclosure statement provided to a client and the method by which he charged his client. (more…)
The Legal Services Board has approved Legal Outsourcing Guidelines to assist all Victorian practitioners engaged in legal outsourcing. The Guidelines aim to address the inherent risks involved in outsourcing and inform of best practice. (more…)
The Legal Services Board has published an Incorporated Legal Practice (ILP) Information Kit for corporations engaging in legal practice in Victoria. The ILP Kit provides detailed information regarding the commencement, practice, and compliance requirements of an ILP. A summary of the key points is outlined below. (more…)
In discussions with the Costs Court and VCAT it has been noted that there are 2 very common errors in solicitors’ costs disclosure documents and solicitors’ bills. Anecdotally, it is estimated that of the documents seen by the Costs Court and VCAT, half of solicitors are getting this wrong. (more…)
The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria at Melbourne today has found a law firm employee guilty of two charges of commencing employment in a law practice without having first informed his prospective employer of his previous relevant prior convictions. He was convicted and fined $2,000 following charges brought against him by the Legal Services Board. (more…)
The Supreme Court of Victoria ordered on 26 March 2012 that Melbourne lawyer David Tansey be struck off the roll of legal practitioners maintained by the Supreme Court. (more…)