Jinyue (Paul) Young has been suspended by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal for two-and-a-half years.
The two charges against Mr Young were for negligence or incompetence, and for “attempts to dissuade his former client pursuing the complaint”.
The Tribunal noted that the first charge arose because he took instructions from a Chinese client concerning family law litigation, for which he had no relevant experience.
The decision notes that Mr Young “kept no proper file, his advice was incompetent, his drafting of documents inadequate, his representation of his client in court was woeful.” Further, the Tribunal considered that Mr Young “lacks attributes necessary for him to be assessed as a fit and proper person to practice, even as an employee”.
Despite the Standards Committee’s argument that Mr Young should be struck off, the Tribunal imposed the lengthy term of suspension instead.
Firstly, it stated that on the basis of one file, it would be harsh to find that no lesser penalty would protect the public; secondly, it considered that it was obliged to restrict the penalty to the necessary minimum; and thirdly, it wished to preserve the harshest possible penalty to cases where the gravity of particulars of the charge, or the accumulation of disciplinary failings, demonstrated that the most severe penalty must be applied.
Mr Young was also ordered to pay costs of $43,647.
The maximum length of suspension available to the Tribunal is three years.