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Sydney lawyer clears name in Supreme Court

Sydney lawyer clears name in Supreme Court

A NEW South Wales lawyer will receive $60,000 having been successful in a defamation case in which it was claimed he covered up a criminal conviction so he could be admitted to the Bar. NSW…

A NEW South Wales lawyer will receive $60,000 having been successful in a defamation case in which it was claimed he covered up a criminal conviction so he could be admitted to the Bar.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Michael Adams handed down his finding in the case, which involved lawyer Christopher Adamson and Kenneth Ede who, the Court heard, had a falling out.

In the long-running dispute, Ede phoned a lawyer in 2004 who was acting in a case opposite Adamson. He told the lawyer that Adamson had a criminal conviction, which he did not disclose to the NSW Bar Association. It was claimed he hid his conviction by changing his name.

But the recent Supreme Court case found that Adamson did not have a criminal history of any sort. “There was no conviction of the plaintiff in NSW or anywhere else,” Justice Adams said in Adamson v Ede [2007] NSWSC 829.

Justice Adams said the name was changed by deed poll, and that the necessary paperwork was supplied to the Law Society of New South Wales as well as the Supreme Court.

“It is true that the plaintiff changed his name from Adamski to Adamson. The plaintiff said (and it was not sought to be controverted) that for personal reasons and not for any improper purpose he changed his name by deed poll which was executed and filed in the Supreme Court.

“The change of name by deed poll was supplied to the Law Society of New South Wales and the Supreme Court with his application for admission as a legal practitioner ... His certificate of admission in Queensland is in the plaintiff’s former name. There was no conviction of the plaintiff in NSW or anywhere else. There was no impropriety of any kind committed in connection with the plaintiff’s application for admission or for a practising certificate.”

The defendant admitted that he made no enquiry to attempt to ascertain whether the imputations were true before he conveyed them to the other lawyer. “Since such verification would have been easily procured, it is difficult indeed to understand why this step was not taken,” Justice Adams said.

Ede must also pay Adamson’s legal costs.

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