New Zealand Law Society - Warren Richard McFie struck off roll

Warren Richard McFie struck off roll

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Former Auckland lawyer Warren Richard McFie has been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.

Mr McFie admitted misappropriating $237,014.24 of client funds and consented to being struck off the roll. He also admitted overcharging a client in 23 invoices he rendered over a 17-month period where the total amount of overcharging was $42,417.

Mr McFie’s lawyer told the Tribunal that his client was truly remorseful for his conduct and accepted that he needed to face the consequences. He said Mr McFie had sold his house and paid back all the money so that clients had recovered their loss. Most of this amount was available for prompt repayment as it had been retained by the New Zealand Law Society following a freezing order made by the High Court after Mr McFie sold his house.

Mr McFie voluntarily surrendered his practising certificate in 2015 and was recently sentenced in the District Court to 12 months home detention and 150 hours community service.

To complete the repayment of all the stolen money, the Tribunal also ordered Mr McFie to refund $42,417 to the client who had been overcharged.

The Tribunal also ordered Mr McFie to pay $5,350 of costs to the New Zealand Law Society and to reimburse the cost of the hearing.

New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck said every client of a lawyer must be able to feel that their money is totally safe and secure when it has been entrusted to the lawyer.

“Misappropriation of client money goes to the heart of the relationship of trust which is essential between lawyers and their clients. There is no excuse when that trust is breached,” she says.