Queensland Law Society

Legal Services Commissioner v RA Boundy [2018] QCAT 55

Legal Services Commissioner v RA Boundy [2018] QCAT 55

Catchwords

Lawyers’ complaints and discipline – professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct – neglect and delay.

Executive summary

The Legal Services Commissioner (‘the applicant’) brought two charges against Mr B (‘the respondent’) under the Legal Profession Act 2007 (‘LPA’).

Orders made:

  1. the respondent is publically reprimanded
  2. the respondent pay a fine of $1,000
  3. the respondent shall pay the applicant’s costs, to be assessed on a standard basis on the Supreme Court scale under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules, such costs to be assessed as if the matter were proceeding before the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Background

The respondent was retained by a client to act as executor of an estate and a cost agreement was signed.

On instructions of the client, the respondent drafted a deed of settlement using a hand-written agreement and will as the basis for the terms of the deed of settlement.

Some nine and a half years after the respondent was retained by his client the estate had still not been finalised.

The applicant brought two charges against the respondent:

  1. the respondent failed to maintain reasonable standards of competence and diligence whilst acting for the client
  2. the respondent failed to provide an itemised bill to the client in contravention of s 332(2) LPA.

The parties filed a statement of agreed facts and the charges were not contested by the respondent.

Issue

Did the respondent’s conduct amount to professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct?

Issue considered

In relation to charge 1, the Tribunal found whilst the respondent took some steps to progress the matter he nevertheless failed to meet reasonable standards of competence and diligence because there was undue delay in the administration of the estate.[1]

With respect to charge 1, the Tribunal held the charge had been made out.

In relation to charge 2, the Tribunal found no issue that there was a contravention of the relevant requirements for the provisions by the respondent of an itemised account.[2]

With respect to charge 2, the Tribunal held the charge had been made out.

The Tribunal concluded whilst the conduct of the respondent referred to under both charges was less than that of a reasonable competent and diligent solicitor, in neither case was the conduct so ‘egregious as to warrant characterisation as professional misconduct’.[3]

The Tribunal found unsatisfactory professional conduct an appropriate characterisation of each charge in respect of all the circumstances.[4]

 

Liam O’Shaughnessy

Ethics Clerk

As approved by Grace van Baarle, Manager, Ethics Solicitor, QLS Ethics Centre



[1] Legal Services Commissioner v Boundy [2018] QCAT 55, [8].

[2] Ibid [12].

[3] Ibid [15].

[4] Ibid.