New Zealand Law Society - Douglas James Taffs censured

Douglas James Taffs censured

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The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has censured Westport barrister Douglas James Taffs after finding him guilty of unsatisfactory conduct.

In addition to the censuring, the Tribunal made a supervision order against him for a period of 12 months and to reimburse the New Zealand Law Society costs to the amount of $8105.

The Tribunal dismissed an alternative charge of misconduct and an alternative charge of negligence bringing the profession into disrepute.

Mr Taffs failed to comply with requests for information from the Law Society. Mr Taffs encountered difficulties to comply partly because of a change in counsel.

Mr Taffs admitted his conduct fell short of the level of professionalism and responsiveness required.

The Tribunal said that it expects any practitioner, faced with a request from the professional body or delegated inspector, to immediately prioritise compliance.

"All New Zealand lawyers have a fundamental obligation to uphold principles of respect and professionalism. The New Zealand Law Society is required under law to regulate the profession, but equally its mandate is to promote and protect it," New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says.

"While this offending cannot be condoned because prioritising requests from the Law Society or a delegated inspector is of vital importance, it is clear that Mr Taffs has accepted full responsibility for his unsatisfactory conduct."


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