Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Lawyer suspended amidst allegations of misuse of funds

"The allegations in the charges relate to alleged misappropriation of client funds and therefore are at the very serious end," tribunal chairwoman Judge Dale Clarkson said. Photo / Brett Phibbs
"The allegations in the charges relate to alleged misappropriation of client funds and therefore are at the very serious end," tribunal chairwoman Judge Dale Clarkson said. Photo / Brett Phibbs

An Auckland property lawyer has been suspended from practising while he faces allegations he misused more than $100,000 of client funds.

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal this month made an interim order suspending Bruce Harvey Reid from practising law because of the "serious risk posed to clients".

The interim suspension was made the day after charges were filed against Reid with the tribunal by a Law Society standards' committee.

"The allegations in the charges relate to alleged misappropriation of client funds and therefore are at the very serious end of the spectrum of conduct considered by the tribunal," tribunal chairwoman Judge Dale Clarkson said.

The Law Society standards committee said the alleged misappropriations were not denied at this stage and Reid had indicated he accepted he "must account to his clients for all funds" and has "accepted in writing his wrongdoing".

While Reid had given an undertaking over Christmas not to use his trust account without the specific permission of the Law Society, the tribunal did not think that was enough.

"We consider it unsafe to rely on that undertaking alone, given the large number of transactions and the lengthy period, and the involvement of more than one client in the conduct which is alleged. There are substantial funds involved, over $100,000 of client funds...," Judge Clarkson said in the decision.

Reid, who practises out of Mt Eden, did not wish to comment.

Law Society records show he first began practising law in 1982.

His website says he has "has extensive experience in both property law and family law".

- NZ Herald

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