Law Shui Kei Martin (the “Respondent”), former solicitor of Messrs. Martin Law & Co. (a closed firm)(“the Firm”)
  • Rules 7, 7(a)(iii), 10(1), 10(2) and 10A(b)(ii) of the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules (“SAR”)
  • Rule 2(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the Solicitors’ Practice Rules (“SPR”)
  • Section 8AA of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance (“LPO”)
  • Principles 7.01, 7.02, 9.03 and 14.02 of the Hong Kong Solicitors’ Guide to Professional Conduct (Volume 1) 2nd Edition (“Guide”)

Hearing Date: 22 July 2020

Statement of Findings and Order: 7 December 2020

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (“Tribunal”) found the following complaints against the Respondent proved:

Complaint 1

Breaches of Rule 7(a)(iii) of the SAR and Rule 2(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the SPR in that the Respondent paid to Client A from the Firm’s client account a sum of US$3,500,000.00 belonging to Client B without the Client B’s authority.

Complaint 2

Breaches of Rule 10(1) and Rule 10(2) of the SAR in that the Respondent failed at all times to keep properly written up books and accounts to show all his dealings with clients’ money held, received or paid by him for the period from July 2011 to September 2012, and that the Respondent also failed to record all dealings with clients’ money held, received or paid by him within 3 working days after the date of such dealings, in a clients’ cash book for the period from July 2011 to September 2012.

Complaint 3

Breaches of Rule 10(1) and Rule 10(2) of the SAR in that the Respondent failed at all times to keep properly written up books and accounts to show all his dealings with clients’ money held, received or paid by him for the period from July 2011 to September 2012, and that the Respondent also failed to record all dealings with clients’ money held, received or paid by him within 3 working days after the date of such dealings, in a clients’ cash book for the period from July 2011 to September 2012.

Complaint 4

Breach of Rule 7 of the SAR in that the Respondent allowed money so drawn from the Firm’s client accounts on divers occasions for the period from July 2011 to October 2012, which exceeded the total of the money held for the time being in such accounts.

Complaint 5

Breach of Rule 10A(b)(ii) of the SAR in that the Respondent failed to prepare bank reconciliation statements with regard to the Firm’s client accounts for the period from 1 July 2011 to 31 October 2012.

Complaint 6

Breach of Rule 10A(b)(ii) of the SAR in that the Respondent failed to provide the causes of the differences between the balances shown on the Firm’s clients’ cash book and the total of the balances of the clients’ ledgers of the Firm’s liabilities to clients in the client reconciliation statements for the period from 1 January to 31 October 2012.

Complaint 7

Breaches of section 8AA of the LPO and Rule 2(a) and (d) of the SPR in that the Respondent failed to comply with the Notice of Inspection dated 15 November 2012 to produce the requisite documents within the stipulated time.

Complaint 8

Breaches of Principle 9.03 of the Guide and Rule 2(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the SPR in that the Respondent failed to cease to act for Client A when a conflict of interest arose between Client B and Client A.

Complaint 9

Breaches of Principles 7.01 and 7.02 of the Guide and Rule 2(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the SPR in that the Respondent failed to disclose with complete frankness to Client B that the Respondent had a personal interest in a transaction in which the Firm was acting for Client B and put himself in a position where his own interests conflicted with his duty to Client A.

Complaint 10

Breaches of Principle 14.02 of the Guide and Rule 2(d) of the SPR in that the Respondent failed to honour an undertaking as evidenced in his letter dated 5 January 2012.

The Tribunal made the following orders against the Respondent:

On Complaints 1 and 10, the Respondent be struck off the Roll of Solicitors;
On Complaint 2, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$30,000.00;
On Complaint 3, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$15,000.00;
On Complaint 4, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$100,000.00;
On Complaint 5, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$10,000.00;
On Complaint 6, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$10,000.00;
On Complaint 7, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$60,000.00;
On Complaint 8, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$130,000.00;
On Complaint 9, the Respondent be censured and fined HK$130,000.00; and
To pay the specified fixed amounts of the costs of the Applicant and the Prosecutor and the costs of the Tribunal Clerk under a gross sum assessment.

 

Representation:

Mr. Glenn Haley of Messrs . Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Prosecutor for the Law Society, the Applicant

The Respondent was absent

Mr. Iu Ting Kwok, Clerk to the Tribunal

Tribunal Members:

Ms. Anita Leung Ping-fun (Chairlady)

Mr. Yu Tat-man

Mr. Matthias Li Sing-chung

Jurisdictions: