Lawyer suspended for 6 months for failing to protect her client’s property in Abu Dhabi - GulfToday

Lawyer suspended for 6 months for failing to protect her client’s property in Abu Dhabi


Picture used for illustrative purposes.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The Disciplinary Board at the Abu Dhabi Judiciary Department issued a decision to suspend the license of a lawyer for a period of six months, due to her failure to provide the necessary protection for her client’s funds in a money claim exceeding Dhs500,000. This resulted in imposing a penalty on the lawyer as she breached her obligation to manage her office directly and empowered others to do so, contrary to the laws and regulation in force for regulating the legal profession. 

According to the details of the case, a complaint was filed against a lawyer by her client who retained the latter to file a payment order application before Abu Dhabi courts, noting that the claimed amount is more than Dhs500,000 paid in cheques. Surprisingly, the client later received a request from the defendant, to recover the original cheques, as the law firm received the claimed amount under receipt vouchers issued under its stamp, and did not handed them over to the complainant, without the lawyer’s knowledge or an authorization by the client to make settlements or receive money outside the court.

Upon informing the lawyer of the complaint details to defend herself, she argued that the complainant has many cases with the office, but she has no knowledge of this case and did not sign an agreement with the client for legal fees. She also indicated that there is a criminal complaint filed against her employee who used to work for her before he fled the country. This complaint is related to the receipt vouchers issued under the office stamp and whether this employee has or has not received the financial amount related to the case.

The Lawyers Disciplinary Board stated in its reasoning of the decision: after examining the subject of the complaint and the response submitted by the defendant and following the examination of the evidence and documents related thereto, it became clear that the amount was received by one of the law firm employees on behalf of the complainant and was not handed over to her. This forms a violation of the laws in force, the rules of professional conduct and the ethics of the legal profession, as the lawyer has an obligation to preserve a client's funds, run the firm directly, and refrain from empowering others to manage the office.

The Board stated that the complaint supporting documents included a proof of receiving the money under receipt vouchers by one of the law firm employees. This evidence shows that the lawyer failed to directly follow up and run her business, which resulted in the receipt of the amounts by one of her employees.

This constitutes a violation of the requirements of Article 28 of the executive regulations of the law regulating the legal profession, which stipulates that a lawyer shall be personally responsible for managing his/ her law firm in accordance with the license issued to him/ her by the competent authority, and he/ she shall also be responsible for the legal work and the cases he/ she is entrusted with. He/she is prohibited from delegating powers to others to manage it or rent it to others. As an exception to this, a lawyer who has a reason that prevents him/ her from running the office may assign another practicing lawyer to manage his/ her office for a period not exceeding 6 months, subject to serving a notice to and obtaining the approval of the competent authority, which issued the license.



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