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Auckland lawyer Eion Castles has been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors for overcharging clients.
Mr Castles was found guilty of three charges of professional misconduct, one of conduct unbecoming and one of negligence and "incompetence of such a degree as to reflect on his fitness to practise or tend to bring his profession into disrepute."
In November the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found Mr Castles guilty of overcharging. His fees totaled $943,721.54 when a fair and reasonable fee was only $462,000, the tribunal found.
At today’s penalty hearing, the tribunal ordered him to be struck off.
In addition to an apology, Mr Castles was ordered to reduce his fees to $462,000 and refund his former clients $482,721.
In a statement Law Society President Chris Moore says Mr Castles had breached two of the fundamental obligations, which all lawyers were required to uphold.
“Mr Castles has let the legal profession down by his gross overcharging and also by failing to communicate clearly and openly with his clients,” Mr Moore said.
The tribunal has delivered a strong message about the standards expected of the legal profession, he says.