Lawyer reprimanded and fined for acting contrary to assurance made to third party
January 9, 2017
A Northern suburbs solicitor who failed to repay money to a third party, despite written assurances he would do so, has been reprimanded by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Mr Nicholas Logan, of the law firm Nick Logan and Co., was found guilty of two charges of professional misconduct and one charge of unsatisfactory professional conduct after his law practice failed to make payments that were owed.
VCAT heard that Mr Logan’s firm, which specialises in recovery of damages from motor vehicle collisions, had requested advances from a finance company to pay the repairer in three separate client matters. The financier was given written assurances that the advances would be repaid once settlement was achieved with the at-fault driver or their insurer.
The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner told VCAT that on each of these occasions when the settlement monies were received into Mr Logan’s trust account they were then incorrectly released to the repairer instead of the financier, in contrast to the assurance Mr Logan’s firm had given. A significant portion of those payments remained outstanding.
VCAT noted the seriousness of Mr Logan’s failure to meet the terms of the assurance he gave the financier, specifically stating:
‘Legal practitioners should always take care when giving assurances to third parties, who are entitled to give additional weight to the word of a lawyer.’
Mr Logan pleaded guilty to two charges of professional misconduct and one of unsatisfactory professional conduct. VCAT reprimanded Mr Logan, fined him $5,000 and ordered he pay the Commissioner’s costs fixed at $15,000.
For further information, download the VCAT decision.