10 Dec 2012

Hart lawyer challenges Law Society ruling

7:29 pm on 10 December 2012

The counsel for Auckland lawyer Barry Hart says the Law Society did not take into account the impact striking him off the register of lawyers would have on his life and career.

Mr Hart was struck off for misconduct by the society in August and is appealing that decision in the High Court in Auckland.

Lawyer Anthony Trenwith said the Law Society standards committee was too hasty in proceeding with the disciplinary action, when Mr Hart was not at the hearing to defend himself.

The court heard that Mr Hart did not attend because he was ill, but the committee thought he was not at the hearing by choice.

Mr Trenwith said the committee also did not apply a common test which could have found that the scale of the disciplinary action was out of balance with the impact it had on Mr Hart's life and career.

However, the Law Society is standing by its decision saying he was persistent in his non-compliance.

Law Society lawyer Paul Collins said the disciplinary action went ahead without Mr Hart as a consequence of him constantly disengaging from the investigation.

He said committee members thought his absence was just an extension of that.