Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Decision of the hearing panel

Eric Churk-Ming Chow

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: May 21, 2010

Written materials: March 19, 2021

Panel: Jennifer Chow, QC, chair, David Dewhirst and Nina Purewal, QC

Decision issued: May 20, 2021 (2021 LSBC 18)

Counsel: Kathleen Bradley for the Law Society; Michael P. Klein, QC for Eric Churk-Ming Chow

FACTS

In June 2019, Eric Churk-Ming Chow was charged with assaulting his common-law spouse. He entered a plea of not guilty, and the matter went to trial. In December 2019, Chow was found guilty of assault and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge. The judge rejected his claim of self-defence, stating that, while both parties exhibited childish behaviour, Chow assaulted his spouse in a serious way.

Since being charged, Chow has participated in individual and couples counselling, He explained that he hoped counselling would provide him and his spouse with the tools to communicate effectively and co-parent their son. His spouse submitted a letter of support, stating that he is working on becoming a more empathetic and understanding person, that she has gone back to school, and that Chow is now the sole provider for her and their child. Chow has expressed remorse and deeply regrets his behaviour.

DETERMINATION

The Law Society submitted that, based on the agreed statement of facts and Chow’ s admissions, a finding of conduct unbecoming the profession was appropriate. Dishonourable or criminal conduct on the part of a lawyer reflects adversely upon the integrity of the profession and is likely to impair a client’ s trust in lawyers. It further submitted that the appropriate disciplinary sanction is a fine of $12,000. Chow admitted that his conduct was unbecoming the profession and consented to the fine.

The panel found that Chow had committed conduct unbecoming the profession.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The nature and gravity of Chow’ s misconduct was serious, as it involved an assault against an intimate partner. However, the panel accepted the Law Society’ s submission that the assault was at the lower end of the spectrum, as the spouse was not physically injured and there was no indication that the assault was part of a pattern of such misconduct.

The panel ordered Chow to pay a fine of $12,000.

 

2021 LSBC 18 Decision of the Hearing Panel