Lawyer suspensions announced

by NZ Lawyer24 Nov 2014
The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has made a number of orders suspending law practitioners from legal practice.

Last week the New Zealand Law Society published the details of the four lawyers who admitted to charges ranging from negligence to misconduct were released. They are as follows:

Mahendra Patel
The Tribunal has ordered that Mahendra Patel be suspended for three years from 11 November 2014.

The former Hamilton solicitor had a misconduct charge proven against him for multiple breaches of the Trust Account Regulations.

These included, when acting for members of his extended family, that he failed to hold funds exclusively for his clients, he mingled client funds and transferred funds between ledgers without appropriate authorities.

The Tribunal made an order prohibiting him from practising on his own account unless authorised by the Tribunal to do so.

Patel was also ordered to pay $22,373 in costs to the New Zealand Law Society and reimburse hearing costs. 

Miriam Hollins
The Tribunal has ordered that Miriam Hollins be censured and suspended for 12 months from 1 March 2014.

The former Auckland solicitor and Virtual Law Ltd (the incorporated firm of which she was the sole director) admitted charges of negligence in a professional capacity which reflected on her fitness to practise and brought the profession into disrepute.

The Tribunal found that Hollins was negligent in failing to comply with the Trust Account Regulations, and not adequately maintaining trust account records over an extended period.

It also made an order prohibiting her from practising on her own account unless authorised by the Tribunal to do so.

Jason Miles Pou
The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered that Jason Miles Pou be censured and suspended for two months from 13 December 2014.

The Rotorua solicitor admitted a charge of having been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment which tended to bring the profession into disrepute.

Pou had been convicted of driving a motor vehicle while disqualified from holding a licence and with excess breath alcohol in circumstances where he had been convicted on two previous occasions for excess breath alcohol offences.

The Tribunal ordered that Pou pay the New Zealand Law Society $9,253 in costs.

(Name suppressed)
The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered that a legal practitioner be censured and fined.

The Tribunal granted the practitioner name suppression after they admitted charges of negligence in a professional capacity which brought the profession into disrepute.

It held that the solicitor was negligent in breaching the Solicitor Nominee Company Rules and conflict of interest rules, and imposed a fine of $3,000, ordered the practitioner to pay $27,000 in costs to the Law Society and to reimburse hearing costs.

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