New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers Complaints Service: Fined for not paying invoice

Lawyers Complaints Service: Fined for not paying invoice

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A barrister, E, was fined $2,000 by a lawyers standards committee after he failed to pay an invoice from a forensic scientist.

E had instructed a forensic scientist in November 2011 to provide advice in relation to a client matter. E had not paid the scientist’s fee of approximately $2,700, which was rendered to him by invoice in May 2012. The scientist complained to the Law Society.

A standards committee found that E had breached Rule 12.2 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008. This rule provides that where a lawyer instructs a third party on behalf of a client to render services, the lawyer is personally responsible for payment of the third party’s fees, costs, and expenses, in the absence of an arrangement to the contrary. 

E had failed to pay the invoice and the committee determined that the breach of the rule was unsatisfactory conduct. 

E had also failed to respond to the complaint despite being invited to do so.

The committee ordered E to pay the outstanding invoice within 14 days. As well as the fine, E was ordered to pay $1,200 costs.

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