Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Costs for Review

Leonides Tungohan

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: May 1, 2008

Written submissions: August 23, September 5 and 7, October 10, 2018

Panel: Greg Petrisor, chair; Don Amos; Jeff Campbell, QC; Woody Hayes; Carol Hickman, QC; John Hogg, QC; Linda Michaluk

Decision issued: January 16, 2019 (2019 LSBC 02)

Counsel: Deborah Lovett, QC, for the Law Society; Leonides Tungohan on his own behalf

BACKGROUND

Leonides Tungohan was found to have committed professional misconduct with respect to his billing and accounting practices and was ordered to pay a fine of $3,000 and costs of $29,200 (2015 LSBC 02; 2015 LSBC 26; Winter 2015 discipline digest). He filed a review, which was unsuccessful, and was ordered to pay costs of $12,119.26 for the review hearing (2016 LSBC 45; Spring 2017 discipline digest). Tungohan appealed the review board’ s decision on the initial finding of professional misconduct and related costs to the BC Court of Appeal. The court upheld the hearing panel’ s finding of professional misconduct, but returned the decision on costs to the review board for reconsideration (2017 BCCA 423). The review board set aside the initial decision on costs of $29,200 and instead ordered that Tungohan pay costs of $12,500 (2018 LSBC 15).

DECISION OF THE REVIEW BOARD

Because the review board’ s decision on costs pertaining to the review hearing was made prior to the court decision, the review board invited further submissions pertaining to costs of the review.

The Law Society agreed that it was appropriate for the review board to make a fresh decision on costs and conceded that a lesser costs order would be appropriate. Tungohan submitted that the review board should take into consideration his ability to pay, that costs should not be punitive, and that costs should be relative to the seriousness of the professional misconduct. He submitted that, given that the review board reduced the costs order for the initial discipline hearing, it should apply a similar analysis to the costs for the review hearing.

The review board considered all of the circumstances, including Tungohan’ s ability to pay and his partial success on the review, and reduced the costs order to $5,000.

Tungohan also raised a number of other matters not relating to the costs of the review hearing. He submitted what he described as a “ motion for clarification,” which the review board characterized as an attempt to re-litigate the original decision on payment of costs pertaining to the discipline hearing. Tungohan questioned an order to provide quarterly accounting reports to the Law Society following the decision of professional misconduct. He sought clarification of what he called “ comprehension of obligations to clients and risk to clients and public harm.”   The review board found that it was not appropriate for the board to make any decision on those matters.

The review board:

  • ordered that Tungohan pay costs of $5,000, and
  • dismissed all other relief sought by Tungohan.

2019 LSBC 02 Decision on Costs of Review