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Court report: Don’t believe in file notes

Court reporter Hamish McNicol details the best way to astound a judge. With special feature audio.

NBR Radio
Thu, 31 Mar 2016

Act with a conflict of interest and tell a judge you don’t believe in file notes – if you want to be slapped with a censure and $1500 fine, that is.

A summary of a Lawyers Standards Committee decision released this week reveals how an unnamed lawyer did just that, leaving a District Court judge “astounded.”

The same judge complained to the Law Society by sending it a judgment relating to the lawyer’s actions in a dispute over whether a $50,000 payment was a loan or a gift.

In the judgment it says the lawyer denied any mismanagement but the judge warned his evidence should be treated with “careful scrutiny.”

“What is his explanation for the absence of any file notes?” the judge says.

“[The lawyer] says ‘he does not believe in them’ and that ‘they can be easily concocted after the event’.

“I am astounded by his evidence on this point and his self-justification for his practice.”

The lawyer was also ordered to take professional advice and make his practice available for inspection, following the two instances of unsatisfactory conduct. 

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NBR Radio
Thu, 31 Mar 2016
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Court report: Don’t believe in file notes
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