Published on 13 August 2020
Timothy Burcher has been suspended by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal for two months commencing 1 August.
Auckland-based Mr Burcher had previously been found guilty of misconduct in relation to his breach of a previous suspension order of nine months from 18 December 2015.
Mr Burcher had denied that he was providing regulated services during the relevant period and argued that, in most instances, he was acting as a trustee and therefore a client, not a lawyer. However, the Tribunal found that he had provided legal services during his suspension period.
Mr Burcher appealed that finding to the High Court who reduced the overall seriousness of his conduct but ultimately upheld the misconduct finding.
“These proceedings highlight the crossover role of trustee and lawyer. This decision provides some useful comments about the need for a suspended lawyer to take a conservative approach to matters which may constitute the provision of legal services, such as trustee work. Further, this decision reinforces the importance of compliance with disciplinary orders imposed by the Tribunal,” says New Zealand Law Society General Manager Regulatory Neil Mallon.