Morning Briefing: NZ lawyer suspended for six months

A Christchurch lawyer has been suspended from practice as both a barrister and a solicitor for six months... Partners are not “sufficiently busy” says report... Asia-Pac drives M&A activity increase in high growth markets… New global energy heads at HSF… Clayton Utz honoured by Australian Red Cross… Hong Kong chief justice sees challenge in public confidence…

Christchurch lawyer suspended from practice for six months
Christchurch lawyer Susan Barbara Lewis has been suspended from practice as both a barrister and a solicitor for six months with effect from 26 May 2015.
The suspension has been imposed by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal which found Lewis guilty of unsatisfactory conduct. She has also been ordered to pay costs totalling $9,378.50 to the New Zealand Law Society.
While acting for a party in Family Court proceedings, Lewis filed a memorandum in court which contained incorrect information. The memorandum dealt with parenting arrangements for a child of the parties to the proceedings. It was incorrect and misled the Court into making an order which later had to be rescinded.
The Tribunal found that Lewis believed the memorandum was correct, but was wrong to do so. It was concerned that Lewis had displayed conduct not dissimilar to the conduct referred to in earlier adverse disciplinary findings against her. It concluded that she had yet to learn from her past errors and mistakes and that suspension was the appropriate penalty.
“The overriding duty of a lawyer is as an officer of the court,” New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says.
“There is a fundamental expectation in our justice system that lawyers will take the utmost care to never put incorrect information before the courts.”

Asia-Pac drives M&A activity increase in high growth markets
Mergers and acquisitions in high growth markets increased in the second half 2014 following growth at the start of the year according to KPMG. The firm’s latest index of HGM M&A shows that there was an 11 per cent rise in deals between developed and high growth markets and Asia-Pacific was a driving force behind the increase. Deals involving Chinese targets rose by 26 per cent and while the US was the largest acquirer of HGM targets its growth was below average. Singapore saw the fastest growth in HGM acquisitions at 51 per cent with Hong Kong (and Germany) just behind on 47 per cent. Singapore also saw a large increase as a target of acquisitions at 80 per cent.
New global energy heads at HSF
Herbert Smith Freehills has appointed three co-heads of its global energy group. Perth’s Rob Merrick is joined by London-based partners Anna Howell, who spent a decade at HSF in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore and John Balsdon. Together they succeed Mark Newbery as of May 1, 2015.
Clayton Utz honoured by Australian Red Cross
The Australian Red Cross has recognised Clayton Utz for its work in support of the organization in the Northern Territory. The Humanitarian Award citation honours the law firm’s provision of pro bono legal assistance, volunteer and financial support to various Red Cross NT programs for young people. Over 100 Clayton Utz partners and employees have volunteered with the Red Cross NT's Remote Community Holiday programs to date, which the Clayton Utz Foundation has supported with over $290,000 in grants. 
Hong Kong chief justice sees challenge in public confidence 
Public confidence in the rule of law in Hong Kong faces challenges following recent political unrest in the region according to the chief justice. Demonstrations turned into violence after China suggested that Hong Kong’s judiciary should be patriotic “administrators” but Geoffrey Ma told a Bar Council event that transparency and selection of judges was proof that the legal system in Hong Kong was in keeping with international standards.

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