find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
Settling estate proves tricky for easily distracted lawyer

Settling estate proves tricky for easily distracted lawyer

A small town British lawyer has been suspended for being more than a little tardy in the winding up of a client's estate.RollonFriday reports that Guy Choat, a 70-year-old solicitor from Beccles…

A small town British lawyer has been suspended for being more than a little tardy in the winding up of a client's estate.

RollonFriday reports that Guy Choat, a 70-year-old solicitor from Beccles in Suffolk, has been stood down and fined after taking almost 20 years to finalise a spinster's affairs and pay her executors.

The long-winded affair started back in 1992 when poor old Muriel McCarthy fell off the perch, so to speak. Choat had instructions to settle her £294,000 ($475,000) estate and agreed to do so.

However, several years passed in which Choat was obviously distracted by other matters and absolutely nothing was done to wind things up.

Fortunately, the Beccles Parish Council was alert and in-tune with what has happening (or not happening) and had the good sense to move swiftly. Thus, nine years after instructions were given, the Council contacted Choat to express concern about the affair.

Choat allayed some of the Council's concerns by agreeing to repay the £7,000 he admitted to overcharging (oops!) and promised to prepare the estate accounts tout de suite.

But alas, by 2002 the accounts were still not completed (but hey, September 11 had happened and the world was a different place). In 2003 Choat blamed a viral infection for the lack of action, but claimed the case was "top priority". When 2005 rolled by Choat reassured the Council that he "remained committed to resolving this matter". In 2007 he was still very much committed and "chuntering through it".

When 16 years had passed (and many a tumbleweed), the Council had enough. It was time to get in touch with the Legal Complaints Service (LCS).

Once involved, the LCS broke the sad news to Choat that two of McCarthy's executors had actually managed to fall off the perch as well (probably due to old age).

Eventually, Choat found himself before the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal, pleading "bad luck" and dramatically likening himself to "a survivor from the Titanic ... clinging to any spar in the wreckage".

Obviously the LSC didn't like James Cameron's hit film, which was made a mere five years after the estate saga began, and the 19-year delay earned him a three year suspension and a £7,400 fine.

Folklaw is surprised Choat couldn't come up with a better argument to defend his actions, given he had so much time to prepare ...

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Settling estate proves tricky for easily distracted lawyer
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Human body, illegal organ trafficking, ALHR
07:05
Australia poised to combat illegal organ harvesting: ALHR
The Australian Lawyers for Human Rights are calling for changes to the law so that organ trafficking...
Online service, barristers, BarristerSELECT, Stephen Foley
07:04
New online service leverages barristers’ clerks to aid briefing
A new online tool has been launched to help NSW solicitors find the most suitable barristers for the...
NSW District Court judge, Tim Gartelmann SC, next appointment,
07:00
Silk replaces outgoing NSW District Court judge
A barrister has been named as the next appointment to the NSW District Court, following the retireme...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...