June 27, 2023

Abbotsford lawyer Gerald Edward Palmer has been suspended for one month and ordered to pay $6,956 in costs for committing professional misconduct when he failed to give reasonable attention to a desk order divorce and keep his client properly informed about the status of her divorce over the course of almost three years.

The hearing panel found that Palmer did not respond to reasonable requests from his client, take appropriate steps to finalize his client’s divorce in a timely manner or give reasonable attention to the review of documentation on behalf of his client, including divorce documents that were filed and rejected by the BC Supreme Court.

In imposing the one-month suspension, the hearing panel considered the serious and heavy emotional impact on the client, as well as Palmer’s many years of experience as a lawyer and his extensive professional conduct record, which shows repeated failures to meet his professional duties and a pattern of delay and non-responsiveness.

The panel noted that the client’s divorce proceedings were reasonably simple and straightforward, and Palmer’s misconduct was the sole cause of the delay. There were no significant mitigating circumstances. The panel emphasized the need to instill public confidence in the integrity of the legal profession and to protect the public.

The hearing decision on facts and determination can be found here and the hearing decision on disciplinary action can be found here.