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Discipline Decision – 1999

By a decision of Benchers dated June 16, 1999, Ms. Dunne was found guilty of a violation of a principle contained in the Code of Professional Conduct and guilty of professional misconduct under section 52 of the Law Society Act. Benchers ordered that Ms. Dunne make restitution to the client in the sum of $653.19, and that she pay the sum of $4,000 toward the expenses and costs incurred by the Society in the investigation and hearing of the complaint.

The violation arose from Ms. Dunne’s failure to obtain the client’s consent in writing as contemplated by commentary 5 of Chapter V of the Canadian Bar Association Code of Professional Conduct, 1974, and a breach of rule 5.05(a) of the Law Society Rules. The issue of whether some mental element or moral turpitude was required to substantiate a finding of professional misconduct was considered. Benchers concluded that moral turpitude was not an essential component to a finding of professional misconduct. Practitioners can be found guilty of professional misconduct for violating regulatory requirements, such as the Law Society Rules, even though such violations may not be dishonourable.

Ms. Dunne has appealed the decision of Benchers to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, Trial Division by Notice of Appeal dated July 30, 1999.

Upon review of the decision of Rowe, J. in action 1999 01 T1954, Gladys Dunne, Appellant and Law Society of Newfoundland, Respondent; and upon receiving submissions from counsel for Gladys Dunne and counsel for the Law Society; Benchers resolved unanimously not to conduct further inquiries or rehearing into the issue of professional misconduct.