New Zealand Law Society - Auckland lawyer struck off for taking $10,000 trust money

Auckland lawyer struck off for taking $10,000 trust money

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An Auckland lawyer who has been practising for nearly 30 years has been struck off the roll after being found guilty of misconduct in relation to how she managed a $10,000 trust.

Mary Hackshaw failed to respond to disciplinary charges and appeared before the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.

New Zealand Law Society National Prosecutions Manager Mark Treleaven says Ms Hackshaw's misconduct arose out of her administration of a legacy.

He says it required her to hold $10,000 on trust with annual interest being paid to the beneficiary who was the son of the deceased.

"The funds ultimately were being divided equally between the children of the beneficiary," he says.

Mary Hackshaw did make interest payments to the beneficiary for six years but then took the $10,000 through a series of withdrawals before closing the trust account when she sold her practice.

The Disciplinary Tribunal found that she misappropriated approximately $10,000 and this amounted to misconduct.

She was struck off the roll, ordered to pay compensation of $10,000 to the estate and to pay the New Zealand Law Society costs of $10,518 and also to reimburse the costs of the hearing.

Law Society President Kathryn Beck says Ms Hackshaw was in a position of both privilege and trust and she abused it.

"To deprive the beneficiaries of this estate when she was entrusted to look after this sum of money is appalling behavior that won't be tolerated," she says.