New Zealand Law Society - Tribunal declines to censure lawyer after self-reporting

Tribunal declines to censure lawyer after self-reporting

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Auckland lawyer Lisa Tregenza has admitted a charge of unsatisfactory conduct before the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal after self-reporting her conduct to the New Zealand Law Society's Lawyers Complaints Service.

Ms Tregenza was fined $5,000, ordered to pay the Law Society costs of $4,000 and to reimburse hearing costs of $1,780.

A client instructed Ms Tregenza's firm in respect of an agreement for sale and purchase but subsequently changed lawyers and wanted to uplift her file. When she encountered delay because of an unpaid fee, a complaint was made to the Lawyers Complaints Service.

During investigation of the complaint Ms Tregenza provided a bill of costs and letter of engagement to the Lawyers Complaints Service and the client's new lawyers. The letter of engagement was dated 21 April 2015 but this was a false date because it was not created until November 2015.

In providing the letter of engagement Ms Tregenza admitted making a false representation to the New Zealand Law Society and the new lawyers by falsely representing that a letter of engagement had been created and sent to the client on 21 April 2016.

The Tribunal declined to censure Ms Tregenza for a number of reasons. She had self-reported and promptly acknowledged her error and apologised for it. She has had an unblemished career over many years with no disciplinary history.

The Tribunal said it considered Ms Tregenza a valuable member of the legal profession, of good character and unlikely to reoffend. There was no requirement to protect the public.