|For immediate release||December 19, 2013|
Nanaimo lawyer ordered suspended for 45 days for professional misconduct [updated January 15, 2014]
Vancouver – The Law Society has ordered a 45-day suspension for Nanaimo lawyer Brian John Kirkhope, beginning February 1, 2014 [On January 15, 2014 the Law Society and Kirkhope agreed the suspension will begin February 14, 2014]. Kirkhope was also ordered to pay the Law Society costs.
In September 2010, Kirkhope was representing a client in a family law dispute. He received a spousal support payment from his client, but did not pay it to his client’s spouse as was required by a court order. Acting on his client’s instructions, Kirkhope instead held the payment in trust to motivate a quicker settlement of the division of property issues.
In a July 2013 decision, the panel found Kirkhope’s behaviour amounted to professional misconduct.
In ordering the 45-day suspension, the panel wrote Kirkhope had participated in a strategy that breached a court order. “The public needs to have confidence that lawyers, as officers of the court, will not only obey court orders but will also not participate in strategies that involve a breach of the court order. The respondent’s conduct undermines the public’s confidence in the integrity of the profession.”
Read the hearing panel’s decision on disciplinary action.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 11,000 practising lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
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