Auckland lawyer loses censure appeal

by Samantha Woodhill09 Dec 2015
Auckland lawyer John Revans Eichelbaum has lost an appeal against his censure, along with an application for name suppression.

Eichelbaum, the son of former chief justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum, was censured back in September for ‘offensive and scurrilous remarks’ about a client he no longer represented. 

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found him guilty of two charges of misconduct and one charge of unsatisfactory conduct, including the improper use of a statutory demand procedure to see $150,000 for services performed.

He also sent the new lawyers for his former client a draft affidavit “containing offensive and scurrilous remarks about the client,” said the law society.  Justice Benning described threats Eichelbaum made in the affidavit as “reprehensibile” and said the comments amount to “disgraceful” or “dishonourable” conduct.

Eichelbaum was ordered to pay the law society $30,565.25 and reimburse hearing costs of $19,118, according to a report by NBR.

The lawyers’ standards committee cross-appealed, seeking a period of suspension for Eichelbaum and to overturn the dismissal of one of the charges while also saying the penalty imposed was inadequate.  

But Justice Geoffrey Venning dismissed both appeals in a statement issued by the law society last week.

“The conduct complained of carried on over an extended period of time for over six months,” said Justice Venning, noting that it was Eichelbaum’s first example of such conduct and that it was provoked by rude correspondence from the client.

“It was wilful, and directed towards advancing the appellant’s personal financial situation.”

Eichelbaum was a key figure in the Winebox Inquiry assisting Sir Ronald Davidson and represented investors who lost money in the Feltex collapse back in the Court of Appeal in 2009.