Hokitika lawyer Stephen Joseph Woulfe has been suspended from practice for two months after authorising fraudulent documents.

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found Woulfe had been negligent and incompetent "to such a degree as to reflect on fitness to practice or as to bring his profession into disrepute."

Documents authorised by Woulfe were found to have been used to finance transactions between a fraudster and shareholder of a company to defraud the firm for personal benefit.

Woulfe admitted to the charge and was ordered to pay $10,000 to the New Zealand Law Society and reimburse $5,066 of legal costs.


He has been censured and suspended from obtaining a practising certificate for two months, effective March 16.

While the Tribunal acknowledged Woulfe had no part in defrauding the company, it considered his negligence to be a serious concern.

"It is crucial to the profession's reputation and functioning that lending institutions have full confidence, not only in a lawyer's honesty, but of his or her standards of diligence and care", the Tribunal said.

Woulfe is no longer working at his former practice and is reportedly now living overseas.