Wai To Tsuen Hagon (the “Respondent”), formerly solicitor of Hagon Wai & Partners (an intervened firm) (the “Firm”)

• Principles 2.03, 6.04, 14.02 of the Hong Kong Solicitors’ Guide to Professional Conduct, Volume 1, 2nd and 3rd Editions (the “Guide”)

• Section 8 of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, Cap 159 (the “LPO”)

• Rule 8(2) of the Accountant’s Report Rules (the “ARR”)

• Rules 10, 10A, 11 of the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules (the “SAR”)

• Rule 2(c), (d) and (e) of the Solicitors’ Practice Rules (the “SPR”)

• Paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Solicitors (Professional Indemnity) Rules (the “SPI Rules”)

• Rule 8(1)(a) of the SPI Rules

Date of hearing for disciplinary proceedings: 6 November 2017

Date of Findings and Order: 26 June 2018

Date of Appeal hearing: 24 May 2019

Date of Reasons for Judgment and Decision on Costs: 3 June 2019

Disciplinary Proceedings

On 6 November 2017, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) found the following Complaints against the Respondent duly proved.

1st Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to give prompt and satisfactory explanations or replies to the Law Society’s enquiries by its letters of 14th September 2011, 28th March 2012, 10th May 2013, 21st August 2013, 6th September 2013 and 24th June 2014.

2nd Complaint

Breaches of section 8 of the LPO, rule 8(2) of the ARR and principle 2.03 of the Guide, the Respondent as the principal of the Firm failed to deliver to the Council of the Law Society the accountant’s report of the Firm for the accounting period from 1st May 2010 to 30th April 2011 not more than 6 months after the accounting period specified in the accountant’s report, i.e., not later than 31st October 2011.

3rd Complaint

Breach of rule 10 of the SAR, the Respondent failed to keep properly written up such books and accounts in compliance with rule 10(1) of the SAR.

4th Complaint

Breach of rule 10A of the SAR, the Respondent failed to prepare monthly comparison lists and reconciliation statements in compliance with section 10A of the SAR.

5th Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to give prompt and satisfactory explanations or replies to the Law Society’s enquiries by its letters of 2nd March 2012 and 11th July 2013.

6th Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to reply fully and promptly to correspondence from former clients or on their behalf.

7th Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to give prompt and satisfactory explanations or replies to the Law Society’s enquiries by its letter of 13th February 2012.

8th Complaint

On account of the facts set out in the 6th and 7th Complaints, the Respondent was in breach of rule 2(c), (d) and (e) of the SPR.

9th Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to give prompt and satisfactory explanations or replies to the Law Society’s enquiries by its letters of 5th September 2012 and 3rd June 2013.

10th Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to give prompt and satisfactory explanations or replies to the Law Society’s enquiries by its letter of 19th August 2013.

11th Complaint

Breach of rule 11 of the SAR, the Respondent repeatedly failed to produce the books and accounts of the Firm at such time and place fixed by the Council for inspection by the Monitoring Accountants of the Law Society.

12th Complaint

Breach of rule 10 of the SAR, the Respondent failed to keep written up such books and accounts in compliance with rule 10 of SAR.

13th Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to give prompt and satisfactory explanations or replies to the Law Society’s enquiries by its letter of 6th June 2013.

14th Complaint

Breach of principle 14.02 of the Guide, the Respondent, being the then partner of the Firm, failed to honour a professional undertaking to a client to return title deeds and documents to the client.

15th Complaint

Breach of principle 14.02 of the Guide, the Respondent, being the then partner of the Firm, failed to honour a professional undertaking to a client to return title deeds and documents to the client.

16th Complaint

Breach of principle 14.02 of the Guide, the Respondent, being the then partner of the Firm, failed to honour a professional undertaking to a client to return title deeds and documents to the client.

17th Complaint

Breach of principle 6.04 of the Guide, the Respondent failed to give prompt and satisfactory explanations or replies to the Law Society’s enquiries by its letter of 8th May 2014.

18th Complaint

Breach of paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the SPI Rules, the Respondent, being the then principal of the Firm, failed to settle the debit note of Hong Kong Solicitors Indemnity Fund Limited (“Company”) dated 30th July 2013 in the sum of HK$1,593 being adjustment to the reduction in contribution for the indemnity year 2010/2011.

19th Complaint

Breach of rule 8(1)(a) of the SPI Rules, the Respondent, being the then principal of the Firm, failed to produce to the Company the final Gross Fee Income Report for the final accounting period, namely from 1st January 2011 to 23rd April 2012 within the stipulated time.

20th Complaint

Breach of paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the SPI Rules, the Respondent, being the then principal of the Firm, failed to settle the debit note of the Company dated 17th January 2014 in the sum of HK$88,434 being the outstanding contribution.

21st Complaint

On account of the facts set out in the 18th, 19th and 20th Complaints, the Respondent was in breach of rule 2(d) of the SPR.

On 26 June 2018, the Tribunal ordered:

(1) In respect of the 1st Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(2) In respect of the 2nd Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$10,000.

(3) In respect of the 3rd Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$15,000.

(4) In respect of the 4th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$15,000.

(5) In respect of the 5th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(6) In respect of the 6th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(7) In respect of the 7th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(8) In respect of the 8th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$10,000.

(9) In respect of the 9th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(10) In respect of the 10th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(11) In respect of the 11th Complaint :

(a) the Respondent be censured;

(b) with effect from the date hereof, the Respondent’s practice as a solicitor be subject to the following conditions for three years;

(i) that he cannot practice as a sole proprietor or partner of a solicitors firm; and

(ii) that his practice as a solicitor be subject to the supervision of a full-time solicitor of no less than 15 years’ standing and also of good standing.

(12) In respect of the 12th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$20,000.

(13) In respect of the 13th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(14) In respect of the 14th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$50,000.

(15) In respect of the 15th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$50,000.

(16) In respect of the 16th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$50,000.

(17) In respect of the 17th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$12,500.

(18) In respect of the 18th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$5,000.

(19) In respect of the 19th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$15,000.

(20) In respect of the 20th Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$40,000.

(21) In respect of the 21st Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$10,000.

(22) The Respondent do pay the costs, summarily assessed by the Tribunal, of the Prosecutor for the Law Society; the Clerk to the Tribunal and the Law Society.

Representation (Disciplinary Proceedings):

Mr. Lau Wing Keung Stephen of Chui And Lau for the Law Society

The Respondent was absent for the hearing

Mr. Iu Ting Kwok, Clerk to the Tribunal

Mr. Lam Ching Wan, William (Chairman)

Mr. Siu Yat Fung, Anthony

Ms. Chan Ka Man, Carmen

Appeal

The Law Society’s application for leave to appeal made on 17 July 2018 under CAMP 115/2018 against the penalties imposed by the Tribunal was granted on 2 October 2018.

Reasons for Judgment and Decision on Costs (CACV 502/2018) was handed down on 3 June 2019. The Court of Appeal set aside the penalties imposed by the Tribunal and ordered that:

1) the Respondent be suspended from practising as a solicitor for 3 years;

2) if the Respondent resumes his practice after the expiry of the suspension, his practice be subject to the following conditions for 3 years:

a) he is prohibited from practice as a sole proprietor or partner of a solicitors’ firm; and

b) his practice as a solicitor be subject to the supervision of a full-time solicitor of no less than 15 years’ standing and also of good standing; and

3) the costs of the proceedings in CAMP 115/208 and CACV 502/2018, summarily assessed by the Court, be to the Law Society.

Representation (Appeal):

Mr. Nicholas Hunsworth, solicitor advocate, instructed by Messrs. Chui And Lau, for the Law Society

The Respondent was absent for the hearing

Jurisdictions: