Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Sydney solicitor makes property matter ‘significantly difficult’ for court

A conflict over a Sydney property became “significantly difficult” by the “suggested ambiguity” of a solicitor who got caught up in the matter due to allegations of a conflict of interest.

user iconNaomi Neilson 19 May 2023 Big Law
expand image

The NSW Supreme Court’s Judge Kelly Rees found earlier this month that principal Philip Beazley’s representation of a client he had known for almost two decades made the matter more difficult.

Lender Aquamore Funds 2 sought judgment of some $1.15 million against borrower Church Point Apartments and guarantors Gregory Walker, Forest Apartments, and The Gosford. Later, Keith Snell was made another guarantor and added to the matter.

Aquamore advanced $3,442,500 for a property in Pymble, which went into default twice and was eventually appointed a receiver to sell.


Proceedings were commenced a month later, with the lender suing the borrower and each of the guarantors for monies owed.

In April 2021, Mr Beazley was retained to represent Mr Walker, Forest Apartments, and The Gosford.

A month later, Mr Snell’s wife Margaret, who acted on behalf of her husband’s estate after his death, filed a cross-claim against the lender and Mr Beazley seeking damages for breach of duty of care and fiduciary duties owed to her husband.

“In short, Ms Snell contended that Mr Beazley had acted for Mr Walker since 2007 and, when purportedly acting for her husband on this transaction, did so in a position of a conflict of interest,” Judge Rees wrote in the judgment.

In August, Aquamore filed a cross-application against Mr Beazley seeking damages in the event the first cross-claim was successful and led to the lender being unable to recover all money owed.

“Somewhat curiously, notwithstanding that Mr Beazley was now a cross-defendant to the first cross-claim and the second, he continued to act for (Mr Walker, Forest Apartments and The Gosford). This was productive of further difficulty in this matter,” Judge Rees said.

Shortly before a hearing, Aquamore’s cross-claim was settled.

In the background of this, Mr Walker applied to vacate the hearing and sought leave to adduce evidence, but this was both refused.

Mr Walker also made an application that the judge recuse themselves for apprehended bias, which was also refused.

Despite informing the lender’s solicitor that he was not acting for Mr Walker, he still remained as legal representation on the record.

During a hearing, Judge Rees said it appeared Mr Beazley continued to assist his client by witnessing an affidavit, reading a judgment and assisting in the preparation of a written statement for the recusal.

“Mr Walker preferred to refer to Mr Beazley as a friend. Whilst that may be the case, to be clear, Mr Beazley is Mr Walker’s solicitor in these proceedings,” Judge Rees found.

Mr Walker told the court he had been told by Lawcover that Mr Beazley could not represent him and needed time to ascertain whether he could obtain other legal representation.

During this application for an adjournment, Judge Rees said the court was “reluctant to place much weight on Mr Walker’s submission as to precisely when he was told, and indeed if he was told, that Mr Beazley would no longer represent him”.

“Mr Beazley remains on the record and thus does continue to represent Mr Walker,” Judge Rees clarified.

Mr Walker did not establish a substantial basis for a conclusion of apprehended bias, and Judge Rees refused to stand down.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!