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Lawyer suspended for causing proceedings to be dropped

A Perth solicitor who caused proceedings to be dismissed and failed to tell the client has been suspended from practising for six months.

user iconNaomi Neilson 29 April 2024 Big Law
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Solicitor Tihomir Galic was found to have engaged in professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct during the seven months he worked with Western Australia’s Public Trustee.

Galic and the state’s Legal Services and Complaints Committee (LSCC) agreed to settle the matter with a six-month suspension on his practising certificate and an order to pay $24,000 in costs.

The Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal (WASAT) was told that between November 2016 and May 2017, Galic failed to attend two consecutive directions hearings and caused the proceedings to be dismissed for want of prosecution.


The Public Trustee was never informed and had to learn about the missed attendances and dismissal through their own inquiries.

Galic was then instructed to relist the matter in November 2016 but failed to take any steps to do so until May 2017.

The LSCC also alleged Galic failed to prepare material on instruction and failed to provide updates to the Public Trustee on six occasions.

On two occasions in March and May 2017, Galic engaged in professional misconduct by making oral statements to representatives of the Public Trustee that were false or misleading.

A third statement, found to be false or misleading, amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct.

Galic said he believed this statement was true.

“The respondent’s belief was not reasonable, and his conduct fell short of the standard of competence and diligence that a member of the public is entitled to expect of a reasonably competent Australian legal practitioner,” WASAT was told.

The LSCC also alleged that in October 2014 and January 2017, Galic received two separate payments of $5,000 from a client as “trust money” despite not being permitted to do so.

In addition to not maintaining a general trust account, Galic’s practising certificate did not allow him to receive trust money.

While Galic said he did not believe the payments were trust money, WASAT found the “belief was not based on any reasonable grounds and was grossly incompetent”.