A hearing date and venue is expected to be announced shortly
by the New Zealand Law Society over multiple misconduct
charges being faced by former Dunedin lawyer John Milne.
Mr Milne, who declared himself bankrupt in November and does
not have a practising certificate any longer, separately
remains under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office,
which does not comment on investigations until they are
It is unknown if charges were to be laid by the SFO whether
they would take precedence over the present misconduct
Mr Milne faces four charges before the New Zealand Lawyers
and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal, alleging professional
misconduct relating to receiving and dealing with clients'
funds amounting to $2.76 million.
Convener of the standards committee of the Otago branch of
the Law Society David More said, when contacted yesterday, Mr
Milne had been served with the four charges, and had
Mr More said prosecution and defence lawyers had been in
discussions recently and he understood the disciplinary
tribunal would ''release a decision shortly'' on the hearing
date and venue.
The Otago branch had requested Mr Milne face the allegations
in Dunedin, Mr More said.
Public documents collated on Mr Milne's bankruptcy showed
estimated claims stood at $2,960,224, with estimates $137,497
was owed to banks and sundry creditors, while the balance of
$2,768,727 were funds given to Mr Milne by clients, over many
There were understood to be 38 claimants in all; the three
largest sums involved were $964,000, $315,000 and $240,000.
The Law Society's prosecutor understood the tribunal would
not be making any ruling on compensation.
It appears the key to any compensation claim is whether the
clients lent money to Mr Milne, or whether they were
expecting returns on an investment. Dunedin solicitor
Alistair Paterson opened a register for affected investors,
which could look at issues surrounding the clients' legal
rights and any possibility of compensation.