A lawyer of good standing in Victoria sent in this article from the Victorian Law Institute Journal of Jan/Feb 2014.
The author is Professor Gino Dal Pont whose observations are particularly timely, including these:
- Once a person's character is smeared with dishonesty, it is a difficult smear to remove
- Lack of trust in members of the legal profession brings a lack of trust in the broader administration of justice.
- The public as a whole suffers when a practitioner engages in dishonest conduct
One of the cases that Professor Dal Pont quotes from includes this reference to the circumstances in which a legal practitioner may be struck off:
While the authorities indicate that the disciplinary power in question is entirely protective, that protection extends beyond protection of the public to include the legal profession as a group, the courts, the justice system and community confidence in that system. It is for this reason that striking off may follow where a practitioner’s conduct shows ‘a defect of character incompatible with membership of a self-respecting profession’...