find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
Illegally practising lawyer ‘slipped through cracks’

Illegally practising lawyer ‘slipped through cracks’

The now-banned Brisbane solicitor who practised for years without a practising certificate “slipped between the cracks”, a tribunal has found.

Peter Arthur Rowell (58) was found guilty of professional misconduct and struck off the roll after he was caught out unlawfully undertaking work for clients, including Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ), for which he was a ‘preferred supplier’.

Rowell was admitted to practice in Queensland in 2002 and renewed his practising certificate annually until 2008, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) heard. He also operated under the firm name PK Lawyers and held a NSW practising certificate for a year until June 2009.

Even though it had been almost three years since both certificates had lapsed, the Queensland Law Society (QLS) listed Rowell as an ‘active’ practitioner in its database until April last year. The industry body claimed it believed Rowell was still registered in NSW.

QCAT found Rowell continued to practise in Queensland until as late as 2012.

In a statement to Lawyers Weekly, QLS president Annette Bradfield said that she relies on interstate lawyers who are practising in Queensland to inform the Society of their status and provide evidence that they hold a current professional indemnity insurance policy covering having a practice in the state.

Bradfield pointed out, however, that neither the Legal Profession Act nor QLS Administration Rules require interstate practitioners to advise the Society that they are practising in Queensland, “although most practitioners do,” she added.

Justice Alan Wilson, president of QCAT, found that QLS is not at fault for listing Rowell as a current practitioner.

“Rowell was obliged to inform the Society of his true circumstances, in particular, to tell it that he had not renewed his certificate in NSW in the years ending 30 June 2010, 2011 or 2012,” Justice Wilson stated in his decision.

“After he failed to renew in either state in 2009 he slipped, as it were, between the cracks.”

Rowell was found out when a LAQ client lodged a complaint that the lawyer failed to tell her of a court hearing in October 2010 and acted without her authority.

Justice Wilson ordered Rowell to be removed from the local roll, pay $7500 compensation to the client and recommended he also be struck off the NSW roll.

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

Illegally practising lawyer ‘slipped through cracks’
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
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 & ...