Appeal against longer suspension dismissed
The High Court has dismissed an appeal by a Standards Committee seeking a longer period of suspension for lawyer John Paul Timothy Schlooz.
The Standards Committee appealed the decision by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Tribunal to suspend the lawyer for four months. This followed the filing of misconduct charges in the Tribunal relating to abusive emails he sent to a litigant in person between 1 February 2019 to 17 November 2019. Mr Schlooz accepted two charges of misconduct.
The High Court was not persuaded that the Tribunal erred in ordering that length of suspension. The High Court found that while the Tribunal was setting a benchmark for misconduct of this kind, the category of speech as misconduct did not warrant a longer term of suspension than had been imposed after considering any aggravating and mitigating factors.
The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa appoints committee members and provides administrative support to Standards Committees, but they make independent decisions. The Tribunal is administered by the Ministry of Justice.