Special Compensation Fund Committee claim

The following is a summary of a Special Compensation Fund Committee claim decision, published under Law Society Rule 3-39.

A claim against the Special Compensation Fund by F in the matter of William Graham, a former member of the Law Society: November 22, 1999

Facts: In 1997 the claimant (F) retained Mr. Graham to obtain a share of her former spouse’s pension. She paid a retainer of $500. Mr. Graham advised F that he had commenced an action, completed an examination for discovery and set a court date, but all of this was untrue. There was no evidence that Mr. Graham never deposited F’s cheque to trust, and no account was rendered.

Mr. Graham received the $500 in his capacity as a barrister and solicitor, and he misappropriated the funds. He acted dishonestly and fraudulently in converting the retainer to his own use without rendering any services to the claimant. As a result of his actions, F suffered a loss.

Mr. Graham resigned from the Law Society on October 20, 1999: see December, 1999 Discipline Digest No. 3.

Decision: The claim for compensation is granted in the amount claimed ($500). The panel decided F need not exhaust her civil remedies against Mr. Graham given the cost and delay that would entail. Since F was relieved of having to pursue her remedies, the Committee did not award interest.

The panel extended to F its sincere regrets for the difficulties she had experienced with a member of the Society.