Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Facts and Determination


Wade Cameron MacGregor

Terrace, BC

Called to the bar: May 18, 1990

Discipline hearing: September 24, 2018

Panel: Steven McKoen, QC (chair); John Lane; Lindsay R. LeBlanc

Decision issued: December 27, 2018 (2018 LSBC 39)

Counsel: Sarah Conroy for the Law Society; Wade Cameron MacGregor on his own behalf

FACTS

Wade Cameron MacGregor’s client had entered into a separation agreement stipulating that the client would pay his former domestic partner $1,913 in support per month, payable in biweekly instalments. After entering into the agreement, the client commenced proceedings in both the Provincial and Supreme Courts.

The client notified MacGregor that he was experiencing financial hardship. MacGregor sent a letter to the former partner’s counsel in the Provincial Court action, proposing that the support payments be reduced by $200 a pay period and that the former partner contribute to expenses incurred for visiting their children. MacGregor found that the opposing counsel’s office was closed for approximately 11 days. Upon returning, opposing counsel told MacGregor that he would have to file an application to vary the separation agreement.

MacGregor tried to contact opposing counsel in the Supreme Court action and found that that counsel was away for approximately two weeks. MacGregor advised his client that, given the delays caused by the two lawyers being away, the client should withhold $200 from each spousal support payment until MacGregor and the client could argue their case in court. The client followed MacGregor’s advice. The client informed the former partner, and MacGregor informed her counsel of the advice and their intention to seek a variation of the separation agreement. The client’s former partner complained to the Law Society.

The Supreme Court ordered that the spousal support payments should continue in the amount specified by the separation agreement and that MacGregor’s client pay arrears and interest.

DETERMINATION

The panel found that MacGregor, knowing that the spousal support provisions of the separation agreement were enforceable as if they were a court order, and having advised his client of the same, nonetheless counselled his client to violate those terms. The panel found this to be a breach of the Law Society Rules and the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, and to constitute professional misconduct.

2018 LSBC 39 Decision on Facts and Determination