- Principle 6.01 and Principle 13.01 of the Hong Kong Solicitors’ Guide to Professional Conduct, Vol. 1, 2nd Edition (the “Guide”)
- Rule 2(a), (c) and (e) of the Solicitors Practice Rules (the “SPR”)
6 and 7 February 2012
Statement of Findings
6 June 2013
Reasons and Order
17 January 2014
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (“Tribunal”) found the following two complaints proved after hearings held on 6 and 7February 2012 respectively:
Breach of Principle 6.01 of the Guide and Rule 2(a), (c) and (e) of the SPR while acting for a Mr. Chan (“Chan”) and a Madam Ma (“Ma”) in the proposed assignment between them concerning their jointly owned property (the “Property”) which was part of a development of the Hong Kong Housing Authority under the Home Ownership Scheme by:-
(i) procuring Chan and Ma to execute the Deed of Assignment (the “Deed of Assignment”) before approval from the HKHA had been obtained, and arranging for the registration of the Deed of Assignment when the Respondent must have known that the Deed of Assignment was void;
(ii) swapping the pages of the Deed of Assignment so that it incorporated the HKHA’s amendments and attached the execution page containing Chan’s and Ma’s signatures; and
(iii) acting dishonestly or fraudulently in connection with the execution of the Approval Letter and the Deed of Assignment by arranging for Chan’s father (the “Claimant”) to sign the docket to the Approval Letter when the Respondent must have been aware that he was breaching the undertaking to the HKHA which required the Approval Letter to be signed by the Assignee Chan.
Breach of Principle 13.01 of the Guide and Rule 2(a) of the SPR by concealing or failing to disclose to the Hong Kong Solicitors Indemnity Fund Limited that as part of the Respondent’s proposed settlement with the Claimant, the Respondent would obtain a personal interest in the Property.
On 17 January 2014, the Tribunal ordered:
(a) That in relation to the First Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$40,000.
(b) That in relation to the Second Complaint, the Respondent be fined HK$80,000.
(c) That the Respondent bears and pays for:
i. the costs of the Clerk, which are summarily assessed and allowed at HK$115,000; and
ii. the costs of the Law Society in its investigation into the matter and the costs of the solicitor for the Law Society, to be taxed if not agreed.
Representation (Disciplinary Proceedings):
Mr. Malcolm Kemp of Messrs. Stephenson Harwood for the Law Society
Mr. James Collins instructed by Messrs. Henry Wan & Yeung for the Respondent
Mr. Wong Tak Shing, Chairman
Mr. Andrew W K Lam
Mr. Wong Yun-hong
[On 7 February 2014, the Respondent filed a Notice of Appeal in CACV 20/2014 against the Tribunal’s Findings and Order.
On 10 April 2014, the Law Society filed a Notice of Appeal in CACV 78/2014 against the Tribunal’s Findings and Order.
On 10 February 2015, the Respondent filed an Amended Notice of Appeal. On 26 February 2015, the Respondent took out a Summons for leave to re-amend the Amended Notice of Appeal, and service of the Re-Amended Notice of Appeal be dispensed with.
On 2 April 2015, the Court of Appeal held that:-
(1) The Respondent’s appeal in CACV 20/2014 be allowed. The decision of the Tribunal in respect of the Second Complaint be set aside and be dismissed, and the Law Society to pay 85 percent of the costs of the Solicitor in this appeal.
(2) The appeal by the Law Society in CACV 78/2014 be allowed. The penalty imposed by the Tribunal in respect of the First Complaint be set aside, and the appropriate penalty should be a suspension for two years with the condition that when the Solicitor (the Respondent) resumes practice after the suspension, he is prohibited from practising as a sole proprietor or partner or manager of a solicitors firm until the Law Society is satisfied that he is fit to do so. The Solicitor (the Respondent) shall pay the Law Society’s costs of the appeal to be taxed if not agreed.
On 30 April 2015, the Respondent filed a Notice of Motion for leave to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal in CACV 78/2014.
On 10 July 2015, the Court of Appeal dismissed the Respondent’s Motion for leave to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal with costs to the Law Society assessed at HK$60,000.]
Mr. Gerard McCoy SC and Mr. Albert NB Wong, instructed by Messrs. Henry Wan & Yeung, for the Respondent
Mr. Jason Karas, Solicitor Advocate, instructed by Messrs. Stephenson Harwood, for the Law Society