A lawyer accused of overcharging a former golfing buddy by
almost $600,000 has been found guilty of professional
misconduct by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary
Eion Castles faced the disciplinary tribunal after he charged
the man, with whom he played golf at Titirangi Golf Club,
$1,030,000 - well above the $436,000 cost assessors estimated
his work would have cost to help sort out legal problems
created by the client's leaky Remuera home.
In a recently released decision, the tribunal found Castles'
charges were "grossly excessive".
"A fair and reasonable fee in relation to all three
proceedings would have been $462,000, inclusive of GST and
disbursements. As a result the practitioner is guilty of
The tribunal found that in his first two weeks of work,
Castles charged his former golfing buddy more than he had
been charged by his former solicitors, who were also working
on legal action arising from his leaky home, over a period of
Castles was found guilty of five charges relating to gross
overcharging, general conduct and serious failures in
professional standards. Three other charges were dismissed.
His penalty has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, another recently released tribunal decision stated
the reasoning for striking off a lawyer who was found guilty
of misconduct in October.
Evgeny Orlov was struck off the roll of barristers and
solicitors, in part because of unfounded allegations he made
against High Court judge Rhys Harrison in 2008.
Orlov stated Justice Harrison's attitude and statements
showed an apparent bias "not only against me but against the
political beliefs that I hold".
The tribunal's decision stated that in the course of his
five-day hearing before the tribunal Orlov used "extravagant
and insulting language", compared the tribunal to the Spanish
Inquisition and a Stalinist show trial, and accused it of
creating an atmosphere that existed in Nazi Germany.
"His approach was vexatious, insolent and provocative," the
tribunal's decision stated.
Orlov previously represented former Zion Wildlife Garden
operator Patricia Busch during a long-running feud between
her and her son, 'Lion Man' Craig Busch.
- By Brendan Manning of APNZ