Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of a decision of the president’s designate on an application to dismiss the review


Daniel Bruce Geller

Called to the Bar: May 15, 1974

Retired membership: December 31, 2019

Written submissions: May 7, 2020

President’ s Designate:  Dean Lawton, QC

Decision issued: May 28, 2020 (2020 LSBC 22)

Counsel: Mandana Namazi for the Law Society; no one appearing on behalf of Daniel Bruce Geller

BACKGROUND

Daniel Bruce Geller was found by a hearing panel (Law Society of BC v. Geller, 2018 LSBC 40) to have held himself out as counsel for an individual in Yukon when he was suspended by the Yukon Law Society from practising law in that jurisdiction. The panel found that Geller committed a breach of the Law Society Rules, but that his conduct fell short of that required to support a finding of professional misconduct. The hearing panel ordered a fine of $5,000 and costs of $10,335 (2019 LSBC 35)

Geller applied for a s. 47 review of the decision on facts and determination and the decision on disciplinary action. He also applied for an extension of time to pay the fine, which was granted. .

In April 2020, the Law Society emailed Geller to ask if he intended to proceed with the review, as he had terminated his practice and retired from the practice of law on December 31, 2019. In addition, the record in respect of the review should have been filed by Geller within 60 days of filing the notice of review, and that time had long expired.

APPLICATION TO DIMISS THE REVIEW

The Law Society applied to dismiss the review, as no steps had been taken for six months. In its submissions, the Law Society stated Geller had provided an email address for delivery for this discipline process and it did not receive a response to this email.

The president’ s designate expressed concern that the email sent to Geller did not explicitly state the Law Society intended to apply for an order dismissing the review and, therefore, did not constitute the required notice under the rules. The president’ s designate determined it would be unfair to Geller if the review were to be dismissed and adjourned the Law Society’ s application generally with leave to bring it any time 14 days after Geller has been given notice in writing.

2020 LSBC 22 Decision of the President's Designate to Dismiss the Review