A District Court judge has today (4 February) slammed personal injury firm Keddies for running a case with no reasonable prospects of winning and making "serious departures from satisfactory professional conduct".
Judge Colefax of the District Court of NSW made the comments in his decision relating to the case of Andrew Marshall v Stacks/Goudkamp Pty Ltd.
In today's hearing, in which Stacks sought indemnity for costs payable from the proceedings, Colefax criticised the firm for what he called "disturbing departures" from acceptable conduct by a lawyer.
"There were many instances in the conduct of the matter generally by Keddies in which there were substantial departures from acceptable professional conduct," he said.
"Unfortunately in my opinion it is correct to say that there were many disturbing departures by Keddies during the course of their retainer from what I regard as acceptable and proper conduct as a solicitor."
Amongst the conduct referred to was a failure to pass on crucial advice to the client - namely that the case was very unlikely to succeed; commencing proceedings without express instructions from the client; commencing action against Stacks without an expert's report; failing to advise the client of the lack of legal authority to support his claim; failing to inform the client of expert opinion obtained by Stacks; and failing to tell the client why a senior counsel had refused to take on the brief.
Judge Colefax went on to say that these departures from acceptable behaviour were not able to be ignored and he announced that he would be submitting his reasons for judgment to the Legal Services Commission.
Keddies is no stranger to criticism, with the firm racking up numerous complaints from disgruntled clients since 2008. The firm was recently acquired by Slater & Gordon.
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