- Misappropriation of clients’ funds, even if intended to be temporary, constitutes professional misconduct.
- Misleading an investigator amounts to obstruction, which also constitutes professional misconduct.
- Candour to the Tribunal, together with a demonstration of insight and remorse, is important.
- In essence, honesty is a vital facet of good professional conduct.
In June, the NSW Court of Appeal delivered judgment in Kumar v Legal Services Commissioner  NSWCA 161. The decision provides a useful framework for an analysis of honesty in the practice of law.
Mr Kumar was a solicitor. His name was removed from the Roll of Practitioners following findings of professional misconduct, including dishonesty and misappropriation.
The then Administrative Decisions Tribunal made a decision on the substantive matters in February 2013 (Legal Services Commissioner v Kumar  NSWADT 34) and NCAT made a decision in relation to orders in May 2014 (Legal Services Commissioner v Kumar  NSWCATOD 45).