Breaking News: Partner ‘oversight’ held unsatisfactory conduct

A partner in an Auckland firm has been censured after being found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct, prompting the Law Society to reiterate the importance of professional standards.

Breaking News: Partner ‘oversight’ held unsatisfactory conduct
Auckland barrister and solicitor David John Graeme Cox has been censured after the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found him guilty of one charge of unsatisfactory conduct.

The Tribunal concluded that on balance Cox's actions were an oversight as opposed to intentional failure.

The Rennie Cox partner was censured for representing to another practitioner that the full proceeds of the sale of the management rights of a hotel would be paid to a bank in reduction of its debt, a release from the Law Society said today.

Cox failed to advise the practitioner that there would be a significant reduction in the amount eventually paid in circumstances where he had an obligation to do so, which compromised the other practitioner's ability to authorise a partial release of a client's general security agreement - and Cox’s practice benefitted by $39,120.92 as a result.

In response to the charge Cox accepted that his conduct relating to the other practitioner was unsatisfactory.  

The Tribunal declined an application for name suppression deciding that it did not override principles of public interest and open justice.

In the release the Law Society noted lawyers must respect other practitioners and be careful to provide information to them, which can be relied on.

"This decision underlines the importance of maintaining proper standards of professionalism in a lawyer's dealings," New Zealand Law Society national prosecutions manager Mark Treleaven said.

“Lawyers must ensure that representations they make to others are accurate and corrected if later found to be erroneous.”

The Tribunal dismissed an alternative charge of negligence or incompetence and a further alternative charge of misconduct.

Cox was also ordered to pay a fine of $7,500, to pay the New Zealand Law Society $19,791.96 and to reimburse hearing costs of $2,984.

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