New Zealand Law Society - Struck off for pattern of incompetent practice

Struck off for pattern of incompetent practice

Published on 13 August 2020

Auckland defence lawyer Arlan Arman has been struck off by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal following a “pattern of incompetent practice”.

Mr Arman faced one charge of misconduct arising from his representation of a client in criminal proceedings.

During those proceedings Mr Arman had advised his client to plead guilty to a charge of doing an indecent act. His client then sought a discharge without conviction which was declined.

His client appealed to the High Court which concluded that a miscarriage of justice had occurred because Mr Arman had failed to provide adequate advice to his client in respect of his case. This included a failure to identify any possible defences and a failure to explain what would be involved in defending the matter at trial.

The tribunal stated that “the number of failures and their cumulative effect upon the client leaves an impression that this was a practitioner taking shortcuts and thereby seriously disadvantaging his client who was facing serious charges”.

When considering the penalty to impose on Mr Arman, who did not appear at the hearing, the tribunal referred to his suspension in 2019.

“The pattern which emerges is that of incompetent practice in representing defendants in the criminal process leading to significantly negative consequences for clients and for the criminal justice process.

“The entire process is brought into disrepute by actions such as the practitioner’s where, it would seem, that the client’s needs are not being put before those of the practitioner.”

In making an order to strike Mr Arman from the Roll of Barrister and Solicitors the tribunal stated that there was a need for the public to be protected.

As well as the strike off, the Tribunal ordered Mr Arman to refund his client $8,385, to pay standards committee costs of $16,988.50 and to pay Tribunal costs of $2,767.