Summary of Decision on Facts, Determination, Disciplinary Action and Costs


SUSAN MARGARET BEN-OLIEL

Vancouver, BC

Called to the Bar: September 2, 1994

Discipline hearing: October 21, 2016

Panel: Thomas Fellhauer, Chair, Paula Cayley and David Layton

Decision issued: November 23, 2016 (2016 LSBC 40)

Counsel: Carolyn Gulabsingh for the Law Society; no one appearing on behalf of Susan Ben-Oliel

FACTS

The Law Society received a complaint from one of Susan Margaret Ben-Oliel’s clients on April 12, 2016 regarding her repeated failure to respond to the client’s inquiries.

The Law Society sent letters and emails to Ben-Oliel to request more information. She did not respond to the request by the deadlines, and a citation was issued on August 18, 2016.

On September 8, 2016, Ben-Oliel sent an email to the Law Society, in which she apologized for not addressing outstanding matters with the Law Society and stated she was dealing with a number of personal challenges. At the time of the hearing, she had still not responded to the Law Society’s requests for information.

DETERMINATION

Ben-Oliel did not attend the hearing, and the hearing proceeded in her absence. The panel found that the unexplained failure of Ben-Oliel to reply to the Law Society’s letters and the lack of a satisfactory excuse for not responding constitutes a marked departure from the standard expected of lawyers and amounts to professional misconduct.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The hearing panel ordered that Ben-Oliel:

  1. be suspended for four months, consecutive to any suspension she has already been ordered to serve. If she continues to fail to respond, the suspension will endure until she provides a complete and substantive response to the Law Society’s requests; and
  2. pay costs of $2,494.34.

2016 LSBC 40 Decision on Facts, Determination, Disciplinary Action and Costs