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Three lawyers suspended from legal practice

02 April 2019

Three lawyers have been suspended from legal practice for periods ranging from three months to 12 months.

The suspensions follow three separate sets of proceedings.

“These suspensions all result from lawyers transgressing the rules which are in place to protect consumers. Very high standards of conduct and practice are set for the legal profession. Protection of the interests of clients is at the heart of the regulatory system which the New Zealand Law Society oversees,” Law Society President Kathryn Beck says.

“Maintaining public confidence in the provision of legal services is also a very important consideration. When a lawyer is suspended or disciplined, the reputation of all members of the profession is threatened. This is unfortunate as the vast majority of New Zealand’s lawyers provide services to their clients honestly and effectively.”

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has suspended Dunedin barrister Simon Nicholas Claver from practising as a lawyer for 12 months from 1 March 2019.

The tribunal has also ordered that Mr Claver is not to practise on his own account until further order of the tribunal.

In a reserved penalty decision released on 29 March, the tribunal said Mr Claver had admitted one charge of misconduct related to a range of failures over a two- to three-year period in respect of 14 different clients. The failures included misleading the Court, failing to follow instructions and making false declarations to the Law Society.

Andrew MacLean Morrison has been suspended from practice as a barrister and solicitor for six months from 26 March 2019.

The suspension has been confirmed by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal on 28 March following Mr Morrison’s decision to discontinue his appeal to the High Court against the tribunal’s penalty decision on 27 November 2018.

Mr Morrison had been found guilty of misconduct by the tribunal for tampering with a legal document.

Auckland lawyer Ronald Bruce Johnson has been censured and suspended from practice for three months from 1 May 2019.

Mr Johnson was found guilty of negligence in his professional capacity in relation to his involvement in providing independent legal advice to the trustees of a trust. He was also found guilty of two counts of misconduct relating to breaches of the Trust Account Regulations by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.

He appealed against the decision and penalty but the High Court has dismissed his appeal.

Last updated on the 2nd April 2019