5 Feb 2013

High Court upholds decision to strike off lawyer

6:47 pm on 5 February 2013

The High Court has upheld a decision to strike off the Auckland lawyer, Barry Hart, for misconduct.

Mr Hart was struck off by the Law Society in August, after failing to pay a private investigator, and over-charging a client.

He appealed that decision, saying the Society had not followed proper procedures when it went ahead with a disciplinary hearing without him.

Mr Hart said he was sick but the Society's standards committee argued he was continuing with his strategy to delay proceedings.

In a just released ruling, the High Court has backed the Law Society's stance, saying Mr Hart deliberately obstructed the investigation into his misconduct.

The Society says it is pleased with the result and, while striking off a lawyer is a severe penalty, it sends a message to the community that the legal system is robust and effective.