Lawyer suspended over alleged misuse of client funds

by Samantha Woodhill24 Feb 2016
An Auckland property lawyer facing allegations over the misuse of more than $100,000 of client funds has been suspended from practicing by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.

The interim order suspends Bruce Harvey Reid from practicing law because of the risk the tribunal found he poses to his clients, the NZ Herald reported.

“The allegations in the charges relate to alleged misappropriation of client funds and therefore are at the very serious end of the spectrum of conduct considered by the tribunal,” tribunal chairwoman Judge Dale Clarkson said.

The suspension was made after charges were filed with the tribunal by a Law Society standards committee, which said alleged misappropriations were not denied by Reid and that he had accepted he must account to his clients for the funds and accept his wrongdoing in writing.

According to the NZ Herald, Reid was required not to use his trust account without the permission of the Law Society over Christmas but the tribunal deemed this undertaking to be an inappropriate measure.

“We consider it unsafe to rely on that undertaking alone, given the large number of transactions and the lengthy period, and the involvement of more than one client in the conduct which is alleged. There are substantial funds involved, over $100,000 of client funds...,” Clarkson said in the decision.