The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) has censured former Auckland lawyer Janet Xuccoa for breaching s 9 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (which provides that it is misconduct for an employed lawyer to provide regulated services to the public other than in the course of their employment).
Ms Xuccoa admitted the charge of misconduct. The background to the charges was as follows. Ms Xuccoa was employed as an in-house lawyer for a trust company. For a period of nine months, she provided regulated services to her employer, an associated firm of chartered accountants and the clients of both entities (when she was only permitted as an in-house lawyer to provide regulated services to her employer). It was accepted that this was an inadvertent breach of s 9 and that there was no harm caused to anyone. However, the Tribunal noted that “any breach of s 9 is structurally important. It is legislatively defined as misconduct”.
The Tribunal noted that Ms Xuccoa had immediately surrendered her practising certificate and co-operated fully with the Standards Committee. She has expressed contrition and had no previous disciplinary history. Her compliance was described as “brief, unintended, and remedied almost immediately”. The Tribunal censured Ms Xuccoa and ordered her to pay costs.