An Auckland lawyer who asked a female lawyer to bend over through a window has been censured and fined $10,000 for disrespectful conduct.

John Revans Eichelbaum has also been ordered by the Standards Committee to pay $5,000 in costs following the incident.

Eichelbaum was the subject of a complaint from a female lawyer, called Ms B by the committee throughout the decision, who said he complained inappropriately in a dispute with her client over defects in a property he had bought.

On one occasion when she had told Eichelbaum what she intended to do next in the proceedings, he had sworn at her and alleged "there is no courtesy between us".


Ms B also told the committee Eichelbaum's behaviour had become an issue when she requested an expert visit the site.

He had initially refused she and her building consultant entry to the site, as well as making inappropriate comments.

At her second proposed visit, Eichelbaum would only allow her and the consultant to enter the site once she had agreed to bend over through a window down to the skirting board level to sign a piece of wood.

She had "reluctantly" agreed to do so, Ms B told the committee, so as not to waste time and money.

However she said it had been clear she was not dressed appropriately to undertake the move and she had hurt her head in doing so. She went on to tell the committee Eichelbaum had laughed after she signed the wood.

Ms B's complaint was that Eichelbaum had failed to treat her, as an opposing counsel, with the required "respect and courtesy" expected from a member of the legal profession.

She also referred to instances of bullying when Eichelbaum would suggest she had been involved in a fraud or crime.

The committee upheld Ms B's complaint. It found unsatisfactory conduct on Eichelbaum's part and said it considered his conduct was of a "serious nature".


"The committee further considers his conduct to be at the higher end of the unsatisfactory conduct spectrum," the committee said.

"The committee considers that Mr Eichelbaum, by his conduct, caused Ms [B] a great deal of distress and that the cumulative effect it had on her was significant."

The committee also took into account Eichelbaum's professional history, which included a previous censorship for misconduct and unsatisfactory conduct.