Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Review Board

Diep Thanh Hoang Nguyen

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: May 15, 1992

Review date: April 7, 2016

Review board: Lee Ongman (chair), Paula Cayley, Lynal Doerksen, Carol Gibson, David Layton, Sharon Matthews, QC and William Sundhu

Decision issued: June 9, 2016 (2016 LSBC 21)

Counsel: Carolyn Gulabsingh for the Law Society; Henry Wood, QC for Diep Thanh Hoang Nguyen

BACKGROUND

A hearing panel concluded that Diep Thanh Hoang Nguyen had committed professional misconduct by fabricating a disbursement on a client’ s account and by falsely representing to the Law Society that the disbursement was genuine. The panel suspended Nguyen for 60 days, and fined her $10,000 and ordered her to pay costs of $2,925 (hearing decision: 2015 LSBC 32); Fall 2015 discipline digest).

Nguyen sought a review of the panel’ s decision on disciplinary action. She took no issue with the 60-day suspension, but she argued that the imposition of both a suspension and a fine was excessive in the circumstances and wrong in principle, and that the fine should therefore be overturned.

DECISION OF THE REVIEW BOARD

The review board concluded that the hearing panel erred in application of legal principles and imposed an excessive penalty in fining Nguyen in addition to suspending her for 60 days. The board decided that the appropriate disciplinary action is a 60-day suspension and costs only, and no fine.

2016 LSBC 21 Decision of the Review Board