Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Decision of the hearing panel


Crystal Irene Buchan

Victoria, BC
Called to the bar: May 15, 1992
Written materials: April 3 and 23, 2020
Decision issued: June 4, 2020 (2020 LSBC 24)
Hearing panel: Craig A.B. Ferris, QC, chair, Lindsay R. LeBlanc and Laura Nashman
Counsel: Tara McPhail for the Law Society; J.M. Peter Firestone for Crystal Irene Buchan

Facts

While representing a client in a family law matter, Crystal Irene Buchan failed to sign a court order and to take steps to have the order entered in a timely manner. She failed to act courteously and in good faith when dealing with opposing counsel in respect of another order, when she did not take steps to have the second order entered in a timely manner.

She also failed to answer with reasonable promptness communications from the opposing party.

Admission and determination

The hearing panel found that Buchan has exhibited a serious pattern of misconduct. She failed in her duty to enter two court orders, and compounded this wrongdoing by failing to respond to the numerous requests for a response on the status of the orders. This unnecessarily delayed and increased the cost of the litigation and wasted valuable court resources.

Buchan acknowledged that her conduct was a marked departure from the standard the Law Society expects of lawyers. She admitted, and the panel agreed, that her actions constituted professional misconduct.

Disciplinary action

The panel considered Buchan’s professional conduct record, which evidences a serious pattern of poor file management, poor client service and failures to respond to communications from other lawyers. In particular, she was the subject of a previous finding of professional misconduct in 2019. In that case, Buchan was suspended for 45 days, referred to the Practice Standards Committee and ordered to pay costs of $6,347.05. The panel took a global approach and considered the previous discipline. The timing of the incidents was relatively similar, and the misconduct related to similar acts.

The panel accepted Buchan’s proposed disciplinary action and ordered that she:

  1. be suspended for 30 days; and
  2. pay costs of $1,000.

 

2020 LSBC 24 Decision of the Hearing Panel