find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Society slams name blame game

Society slams name blame game

AS DEACONS this week put off plans to sue the Australian Tax Office (ATO) in the Federal Court following recent raids of its Sydney and Melbourne offices, the NSW Law Society spoke out against…

AS DEACONS this week put off plans to sue the Australian Tax Office (ATO) in the Federal Court following recent raids of its Sydney and Melbourne offices, the NSW Law Society spoke out against “bandying about names” of partners by the media regarding this matter.

Dibbs Barker Gosling became involved in the tax investigations when senior partner Paul Gregory was named on a search warrant. The law firm’s offices were raided as part of a blitz, including 85 raids, that took place nationally on June 9 and 10.

It is important to note, a spokesperson for Dibbs told Lawyers Weekly, that the people’s names on the search warrants are not necessarily suspected of involvement in unlawful conduct. The firm believes it is inappropriate to be naming or commenting upon any of the individuals who have been included in the broad inquiry by the Tax Office.

NSW Law Society president John McIntyre this week said the media should not be “bandying about names because they have seen a copy of the search warrant.

“It is highly unlikely that the person on the search warrant knows any more about the matter than any one of the partners in the firm,” he said.

Dibbs’ Gregory said: “I strenuously deny any advice I have given in relation to any of these matters would be of any interest to the Tax Office. This is sensitive stuff — my personal reputation is on the line here and I’ve been a solicitor for 34 years and I’m personally distressed.”

McIntyre said this week that because a law firm is a partnership, parties have to either address a direct search warrant to all the partners, “which may include 120 names”, “or, for administrative convenience, you either address it to the managing partner or the CEO if appropriate.

“If a particular name is on the top of the search warrant, then that is an unfortunate by-product of the process,” McIntyre said.

Abbott Tout Lawyers was also served a warrant in relation to the transactions. It said, however, that these transactions were not carried out by Abbott Tout, placing the blame on a particular partner instead.

“A senior taxation partner is involved in the investigation, based on his involvement with clients and matters at a previous firm,” the firm said.

The partner involved, Ross Seller, said: “Along with a number of other professional advisers I received a search warrant … I have fully cooperated and provided all the information required. I have not advised nor have I been involved in any way with the schemes which have been reported in the media.”

As Lawyers Weekly went to press this week, Deacons cancelled plans to take the ATO to court after officers from the Tax Office allegedly arrived unannounced at the firm to seize documents. According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, the Tax Office seized between 20 and 25 files said to have some connection with accountant and alleged tax haven promoter Philip Egglishaw.

A spokesperson for the firm told Lawyers Weekly on Monday that “we didn’t end up going to court today. We had a meeting with the ATO this morning … We expect to have access arrangements signed by the end of today”.

If the access arrangements are signed, said the spokesperson, “everything can then move forward”. “We’re cooperating as best we can.”

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

Society slams name blame game
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Oct 20 2017
Lawyers warn against mandatory sentencing measures amid political jeers
Mandatory sentencing has become a topic for politicians on both sides of Federal Parliament to jostl...
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'...
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...
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 & ...