Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation authorized:  September 20, 2018

Peter Darren Steven Hart

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

Nature of conduct to be inquired into:

1.  In or around August 2013, while acting for your clients ET and MT in connection with an estate planning matter, you misappropriated, or improperly withdrew from trust, $4,000 by way of a trust cheque payable to Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, when neither you nor Victory Litigation Lending Corp. were entitled to those funds, contrary to your fiduciary duty or Rule 3-64 of the Law Society Rules, or both. 

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a lawyer, or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

2.  In or around November 2012 and August 2014, you caused Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, to borrow or receive a total of $200,000 from your client G Trust and to then lend those funds to your law firm Hart Legal, contrary to one or more of Chapter 7, Rules 4 and 7 of the Professional Conduct Handbook then in force, rules 3.4-29 and 3.4-31 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, and your fiduciary duty. 

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

3.  Between approximately November 2012 and November 2014, you provided legal services to your client G Trust, when you or your law firm Hart Legal had a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter of the legal services, by preparing promissory notes and assignments in favour of G Trust, as security for loans totalling $200,000 made by G Trust to Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, contrary to Chapter 7, Rule 1 of the Professional Conduct Handbook, then in force, and rule 3.4-26.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

4.  In or around January 2013, you caused Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, to borrow or receive $60,000 from your client D Trust and to then lend those funds to your law firm Hart Legal, contrary to one or more of rules 3.4-29 and 3.4-31 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia and your fiduciary duty. 

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

5.  Between approximately January 2013 and October 2013, you provided legal services to your client D Trust, when you or your law firm Hart Legal had a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter of the legal services, by preparing a promissory note and assignment in favour of D Trust, as security for a loan of $60,000 made by D Trust to Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, contrary to rule 3.4-26.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

6.  In or around June 2013, September 2013, and January 2014, you caused Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, to borrow or receive a total of $265,000 from your client S Trust and to then lend those funds to your law firm Hart Legal and your management company Hart Management Inc., contrary to one or more of rules 3.4-29 and 3.4-31 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia and your fiduciary duty. 

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

7.  Between approximately June 2013 and November 2014, you provided legal services to your client S Trust, when you or your law firm Hart Legal had a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter of the legal services, by preparing promissory notes and assignments in favour of S Trust as security for loans totalling $265,000 made by S Trust to Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, contrary to rule 3.4-26.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

8.  In or around August 2013, you caused Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, to borrow or receive $6,000 from your client Estate of CG and to then lend those funds to your law firm Hart Legal, contrary to one or more of rules 3.4-29 and 3.4-31 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia and your fiduciary duty. 

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

9.  Between approximately August 2013 and October 2013, you provided legal services to your client Estate of CG, when you or your law firm Hart Legal had a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter of the legal services, by preparing a promissory note and assignment in favour of Estate of CG as security for a loan of $6,000 made by Estate of CG to Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, contrary to rule 3.4-26.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

10.  You acted in a conflict of interest when you failed to honour the promissory notes and assignments entered into between Victory Litigation Lending Corp., a company owned and controlled by you, and one or more of your clients G Trust, D Trust and S Trust by failing, upon receipt, to apply the settlement proceeds or monies paid on Hart Legal files to the indebtedness owed to your clients or to assign replacement security, contrary to rule 3.4-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia or your fiduciary duty, or both. 

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

11.  You failed to notify the Executive Director of the Law Society of British Columbia in writing of the circumstances of one or both of the following unsatisfied monetary judgments against you or Darren Hart Law Corporation and your proposal for satisfying such judgments, contrary to Rule 3-50 of the Law Society Rules: 

(a)  Certificate filed in Federal Court of Canada on June 26, 2015 under Court File No. ITA-7224-15 against you for $107,148.21 plus interest; and 

(b)  Certificate filed in the Federal Court of Canada on September 21, 2015 under Court File No. ITA-10210-15 against Darren Hart Law Corporation for $45,571.65 plus interest. 

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.