- Rules 2(a), (d), (e) of the Solicitors’ Practice Rules (Cap 159H) (“SPR”)
- Rule 10(6) of the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules (Cap 159F) (“SAR”)
- Principle 2.03 of the Hong Kong Solicitors’ Guide to Professional Conduct, Vol. 1 (2nd Ed.) (“Guide”)
Hearing Date: 3 November 2020
Statement of Findings and Order: 3 March 2021
Order on Costs: 27 April 2021
On 3 November 2020, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (“Tribunal”) found the following complaints against the Respondents proved on their own admission:
The Respondents, being the former partners of the Firm, understated the gross fee income (“GFI”) of the Firm for the indemnity years from 2007/08 to 2012/13, in breach of Rules 2(a) and (d) of the SPR.
The Respondents, being the former partners of the Firm, failed to keep proper accounting records of the Firm for the years 2008/09 to 2009/10, in breach of Rules 2(d) and (e) of the SPR and Rule 10(6) of the SAR.
The Respondents, being the former partners of the Firm, gave inconsistent or untrue explanations to and misled the Law Society in its investigations of the Respondents’ professional misconduct of the understatement of the Firm’s GFI, in breach of Rules 2(a) and (d) of the SPR.
The Respondents, being the former partners of the Firm, failed to properly supervise their staff which resulted in understatement of the Firm’s GFI, in breach of Principle 2.03 of the Guide.
On 3 March 2021, the Tribunal made the following orders :
(1) the Respondents be censured;
(2) the Respondents be jointly and severally liable to pay fines of (i) HK$300,000.00 for the Complaint 1; (ii) HK$25,000.00 for the Complaint 2; (iii) HK$50,000.00 for the Complaint 3; and (iv) HK$50,000.00 for the Complaint 4 within 56 days from the date of the order; and
(3) the Respondents shall not practise as a sole proprietor or partner of a firm of solicitors for three years.
On 27 April 2021, the Tribunal ordered that the Respondents shall be jointly and severally liable to pay the fixed costs of the Prosecutor, the Law Society and the Tribunal Clerk within 56 days from the date of the order.
Mr. Geoffrey Shaw of Messrs. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP for the Law Society, the Applicant
Mr. John Reading, SC, instructed by Messrs. LCP for the Respondents
Mr. Patrick Hui Man Kit, Clerk to the Tribunal
Mr. Charles William Allen (Chairman)
Mr. Fung Chi Man, Henry
Ms. Chan Wing Ki