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As the regulatory body of lawyers in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is authorized under the Law Society Act, 1999 to file complaints against members.

A complaint is authorized by the Complaints Authorization Committee when the Committee is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe a lawyer has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction.  A complaint is an unproven allegation until an adjudication tribunal makes a determination on its validity. At any hearing a settlement may be proposed.

Law Society disciplinary hearings generally take place at the Law Society office at 196-198 Water Street, St. John’s, and are open to the public. However, the adjudication tribunal has the right to make certain parts of the hearings, or even the entirety of a hearing, private at their discretion.

Notice of Referral to a Hearing

Respondent: Robert Regular
Type of Hearing: Conduct
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Place: TBD

General Nature of the Charges

In accordance with s. 45(3) of the Law Society Act, 1999, (the “Act”) the Complaints Authorization Committee (the “Committee”) has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Robert Regular (the “Respondent”) has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction and, in accordance with s. 45(3)(b) of the Act, the Committee has instructed the Vice-President to file the within Complaint against the Respondent on the basis that the Respondent is guilty of conduct deserving of sanction in that he:

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to his client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

  1. The Respondent, as a landlord, was engaged in a landlord-tenant dispute;
  2. The Respondent attended at the property relating to the dispute with heavy equipment (i.e. a front-end loader);
  3. While operating the heavy equipment, the Respondent pushed a vehicle into a snow bank, thereby causing damages to the vehicle;
  4. At the time there were persons in the vicinity of the vehicle;
  5. The Respondent also caused damages to the property occupied by the tenants, which was the subject matter of the landlord-tenant dispute; and
  6. The Respondent thereby engaged in questionable conduct relating to the tenants, the owner of the vehicle and the public at large.

Notice of Referral to a Hearing

Respondent: Robert M Matthews, KC
Type of Hearing: Conduct
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Place: TBD

General Nature of the Charges

In accordance with s. 45(3) of the Law Society Act, 1999, (the “Act”) the Complaints Authorization Committee (the “Committee”) has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Robert M. Matthews (the “Respondent”) has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction and, in accordance with s. 45(3)(b) of the Act, the Committee has instructed the Vice-President to file the within Complaint against the Respondent on the basis that the Respondent is guilty of conduct deserving of sanction in that he:

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to his client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  2. Failed to provide courteous, thorough and prompt service to clients in contravention of s. 3.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  3. Failed to be courteous and civil and act in good faith with all persons with whom he had dealings with in the course of his practice in contravention of s. 7.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  4. Failed to promptly inform his client of an error or omission, recommend the client seek independent legal advice concerning the matter and advise the client of the possibility that he may no longer be able to act in circumstances where he discovered that he had made an error or omission that may have been damaging to the client in contravention of s. 7.8-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

  1. The client’s file was transferred to the Respondent from another lawyer;
  2. The client attempted to communicate with the Respondent on a regular basis; the Respondent did not respond to the client’s communications;
  3. Despite having the file for numerous years, the Respondent failed to move the client’s matter forward; and
  4. The Respondent did not inform the client with respect to a potential insurance claim arising from the Respondent’s inaction.

Notice of Referral to a Hearing

Respondent: David Power
Type of Hearing: Conduct
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Place: TBD

General Nature of the Charges

In accordance with s. 45(3) of the Law Society Act, 1999, (the “Act”) the Complaints Authorization Committee (the “Committee”) has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that David Power (the “Respondent”) has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction and, in accordance with s. 45(3)(b) of the Act, the Committee has instructed the Vice-President to file the within Complaint against the Respondent on the basis that the Respondent is guilty of conduct deserving of sanction in that he:

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to his client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  2. Failed to provide courteous, thorough and prompt service to clients in contravention of s. 3.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  3. Failed to be courteous and civil and act in good faith with all persons with whom he had dealings with in the course of his practice in contravention of s. 7.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  4. Failed to promptly inform his client of an error or omission, recommend the client seek independent legal advice concerning the matter and advise the client of the possibility that he may no longer be able to act in circumstances where he discovered that he had made an error or omission that may have been damaging to the client in contravention of s. 7.8-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

  1. The Respondent was retained by a client to register two mortgages;
  2. The client communicated the time sensitive nature of the transactions to the Respondent;
  3. The Respondent failed to respond to the client’s inquiries in a timely manner and failed to properly oversee that the transactions were progressing;
  4. The Respondent failed to move the transaction forward in a timely manner and did not acknowledge having been retained or any obligation with respect to the transactions;
  5. The client hired a new lawyer, but one of the transactions fell through due to the Respondent’s delay; and
  6. The Respondent did not inform his client with respect to a potential insurance claim arising from the Respondent’s inaction.

Notice of Referral to a Hearing

Respondent: H. Edmund Montague
Type of Hearing: Conduct
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Place: TBD

General Nature of the Charges

In accordance with s. 45(3) of the Law Society Act, 1999, (the “Act”) the Complaints Authorization Committee (the “Committee”) has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that H Edmund Montague (the “Respondent”) has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction and, in accordance with s. 45(3)(b) of the Act, the Committee has instructed the Vice-President to file the within Complaint against the Respondent on the basis that the Respondent is guilty of conduct deserving of sanction in that he:

  1. Breached the restrictions on his license to practice law as placed by the Complaints Authorization Committee on March 14, 2019; and
  2. Acted contrary to the suspension of his license to practice as placed by the Complaints Authorization Committee on February 6, 2020

As a result of the foregoing, the Respondent:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to his client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto;
  2. Failed to provide courteous, thorough and prompt service to his client in contravention of s. 3.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct;
  3. Failed to be honest and candid with his client in contravention of s. 3.2-2 of the Code of Professional conduct and related commentaries thereto; and
  4. Acted contrary to ss. 2(2) and 76 of the Law Society Act, 1999.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

That:

  1. the Complaints Authorization Committee restricted the Respondent’s licence to practice on March 14, 2019 such that he was not permitted to provide legal services to anyone other than clients of Legal Aid NL;
  2. The Respondent was retained by a client, who was not a client of Legal Aid, NL, following the issuance of the practice restrictions, to provide legal services;
  3. The Respondent represented to the client that he was qualified and entitled to provide legal services and accepted monies from the client for the legal services;
  4. The Complaints Authorization Committee suspended the Respondent’s licence to practice law on February 6, 2020;
  5. The Respondent continued to represent to the client that he was qualified and entitled to provide legal services;
  6. The Respondent misled the client about the status of the matter and failed to complete the work he was retained to do.

Notice of the Hearing Date

Respondent: Ronald Cole, KC
Type of Hearing: Conduct
Date: December 2, 2022
Time: 9:30 am
Place: Zoom

General Nature of the Charges

In accordance with s. 45(3) of the Law Society Act, 1999, (the “Act”) the Complaints Authorization Committee (the “Committee”) has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Ronald Cole, KC (the “Respondent”) has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction and, in accordance with s. 45(3)(b) of the Act, the Committee has instructed the Vice-President to file a Complaint against the Respondent on the basis that the Respondent is guilty of conduct deserving of sanction in that he:

Code of Professional Conduct

  1. ) Failed to take reasonable steps to maintain a normal lawyer and client relationship in circumstances where his client’s ability to make decisions was impaired in contravention of s. 3.2-9 and related commentaries thereto.

Notice of Referral to a Hearing

Respondent: Averill Baker
Type of Hearing: Conduct
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Place: TBD

General Nature of the Charges

In accordance with s. 45(3) of the Law Society Act, 1999, (the “Act”) the Complaints Authorization Committee (the “Committee”) has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Averill Baker (the “Respondent”) has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction and, in accordance with s. 45(3)(b) of the Act, the Committee has instructed the Vice-President to file the within Complaint against the Respondent on the basis that the Respondent is guilty of conduct deserving of sanction in that she:

C2021-064:

Law Society Rules:

  1. Failed to cooperate with the Law Society relating to a trust audit contrary to Law Society Rules 5.10 and 5.15.

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to her client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  2. Failed to reply promptly and completely to communications from the Law Society in contravention of s. 7.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

That the Respondent:

  1. failed to provide a response to a trust audit report notwithstanding several requests from the Law Society to do so and the Respondent’s confirmation that she would do so.

C2022-021:

Law Society Rules:

  1. Failed to cooperate with the Law Society relating to a disciplinary investigation contrary to Law Society Rules 9.04 and 9.07.

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to her client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  2. Failed to reply promptly and completely to communications from the Law Society in contravention of s. 7.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

That:

  1. an allegation (the above noted Complaint File Number C2021-064) was filed by the Vice-President;
  2. the Law Society requested a response from the Respondent relating to the allegation; and
  3. notwithstanding several requests for a response and the Respondent’s confirmation that she would do so, the Respondent failed to respond to the allegation.

C2022-005:

Law Society Rules:

  1. Failed to cooperate with the Law Society relating to a disciplinary investigation contrary to Law Society Rules 9.04 and 9.07.

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to her client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  2. Failed to reply promptly and completely to communications from the Law Society in contravention of s. 7.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

That:

  1. the Law Society received written correspondence from the Respondent’s client requesting help opening the lines of communication between him and the Respondent and expressing concern about the service he had received from the Respondent;
  2. the Law Society requested confirmation from the Respondent that she had contacted the client; and
  3. notwithstanding several requests for such confirmation, the Respondent failed to provide confirmation to the Law Society that she had contacted her client.

C2022-019:

Law Society Rules:

  1. Failed to cooperate with the Law Society relating to a disciplinary investigation contrary to Law Society Rules 9.04 and 9.07.

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to her client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  2. Failed to reply promptly and completely to communications from the Law Society in contravention of s. 7.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

That:

  1. an allegation (Complaint File Number C2022-001) was filed by the Vice-President;
  2. the Law Society requested a response from the Respondent relating to the allegation;
  3. the Respondent did not provide a response to the allegation or otherwise communicate with the Law Society regarding the allegation.

C2022-001:

Code of Professional Conduct:

  1. Failed to discharge all responsibilities to her client and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity in contravention of s. 2.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  2. Failed to hold the information she received from her clients during the course of their professional relationship in strict confidence in contravention of s. 3.3-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  3. Failed to care for her clients’ property and observe all relevant rules and law about the preservation of her client’s property in contravention of s. 3.5 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.
  4. Failed to be courteous, civil and act in good faith with all person with whom she had dealings in the course of her practice in contravention of s. 7.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct and related commentaries thereto.

The particulars of the Complaint are as follows:

That:

  1. Following her eviction from the premises of her law offices in November, 2021, the Respondent’s landlord, who is not a member of the Law Society, collected all of the property associated with the Respondent’s law office, including client files, and arranged for its storage;
  2. The Respondent did not make any effort to retrieve the property from storage;
  3. The Respondent’s former landlord contacted the Law Society on December 17, 2021 with respect to the property associated with the Respondent’s practice in his possession;
  4. When the Law Society took possession in accordance with a custodianship order on December 20, 2021, it was discovered that the office space, in which the filing cabinets and boxes with client files were stored, was not locked. The filing cabinets were not locked and client information was visible when the door to the space was opened;
  5. The Respondent did not protect solicitor-client information with respect to the client files stored by the landlord; and
  6. The Respondent did not provide a response to the allegation to the Complaints Authorization Committee.