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CASE OF MR. HAWKES.

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CASE OF MR. HAWKES. Law Society's Adverse Report. High Court Exonerates Him of all Charges. In the matter of George Edwaid Gas oigne Hawkes, a solicitor. This ctus-e cam; boiori. tb., Lord Chief Justice, and Ju.stiec.s VvTds and Chanirell, sitting as a divisioiial couit, in the High Court of Justice. London, on I'u'.s- ei.ay on the report of the Statutory Committer, of the Incorporated Law Society, which had heard the application against the solicitor, made by Clement Hubert Trueman, David William* Davies, Jesse John Bailey, a:.d Charles Cheek Mr. Hawkes was described in the applica- tions as of No. 9, Castle Street, Swansea, and he was charged with professional misconduct. lae committee reported that the applicants filed their applications in per.-on, and stated that tiiey hicl not the means to obtain pro- fessional assistance. The committee consid- ering it a case in which assistance was desir- able, appointed Mr. W. R. Collins, solicitor, of Swansea, to represent the applicants. I'lie committee heard the matter on fouir days in November and one in December, 1902. Tiie respondent appeared in person and laid before the Court a very long and elaborate report, from which it appeared that the complainants were Robert Trueman, an engineer, residing at the Parade, Neath, David William Davies. a certificated be.iiilf, of Woodbine House, nri- ton Ferry, and John Bailey, an eJigineer an.l iron merol.ant of Port Talbot. l'he applica- tion of Charles Civak was not proceeded with. The respondent, Mr. Hawker, it was stated, was admitted a solicitor in May, 1892, and now practices at Neath. He was in tne office of Messrs. Viner Leader and Morris, soiicitors, Swansea, as mirrriging ckrk, from 1895 to 1300. He entered, it was said, into a bon l w itii Messrs. Viner Leeder and Co., not to practice within a certain distance of Swansea. A receiving evrderjti ba.ukruptcy was made against him on the 27th ilay, 18f»3, and in December, 1901, he obtained his d's- charge. The complainants aiffdavits c-ont!hi- ed 25 charges against Mr. Hawkes, but the statutory committee* only dealt with the fol- lowing tour, being of opinion that the others did not disclose any prima facie case of pro- fcssionul misconduct: — (1) That- the respondent brought an action against the complainant to recover the amount of a bill of costs which was not properly chargeable against the complainant, and that in that action he falsely swore that the com- plainant was indebted to him in a sum of £6312 Is., as set out in a bill of costs dated 29th Aprd, 1901. (2) That the respondent falsely swore that he paid a certain sum of £5 to the Official Re- eeiver. and that a sum of £17 13s. 6d. re- feried to in a certain affidavit made by res- pondent included a sum of £5 paid to the (Official Receiver. (3) That the resp indent levied execution at the complainant's residence m direct viola- tion of all agreement lIe had made that he would not do í"0, a.r:d that inconsequence the complainant had to peiy £93 5s. into Court to prevent the sale. (4/ That the respondent charged in a bill of costs which he taxed pursuant to an orditr elated the 3-d February, 1902, a sum of £1 h. ,<s paid to one D. W. Davies, whereas he nad not paid that sum ov any part of it. The above charges which were selected from the twenty-five brought by Mr. Irueman, were also found not to be proved, but other charges, also numerous, made by the other complain- ants, were gone into very and as a re- suit the committee reported that the respon dent advised and prepared an agreement which purported to be made in pursuance thereon from the comphiinant Bailey, to one Law, dated Augarst 27th, respectively, knowing them to be fictitious instruments intended to defeat the claim of Bailey's '.rus- tee in bankruptcy, and that the respondent made use of such fictitious instruments for ilie purpose of obtaining, all<^ dId obtain £94 12s. 4d. in an action entitled Bailey y. Got- hard, and that he borrowed £ 20 from Davies. ostensibly for the benefit of Bailey, but really for himself on the terms of paying a bonus out of the first money corning into his hands in respect of the claim of Bailey y, Gothard, and having jec-eived such money as above men- tioned the fictitious assignment above re- ferred to in cider to defeat the claim of Davies, assignee to the money, and that the respondent, also put forward by way of set- oS against the claim of Davies, assignee, certain fictitious J cos^s- The committeo also found that the re- spondent obtained the sum of £ 10 from the South Wales Finance Co. on his promise to pay it into the court, and to forward the offi- cial receipt .showing that he had done so, but that in breach ot his promise he returned the money, and that altaorgh about half of that sum represented an ainoiint owing to him for taxed costs, he misappiopriated to his own us.. the balance, wnich belonged to D. W. Davies. On these findings the committee reported that the respondent hd been guilty of professional misconduct wir hin the 'meaning d the Solicito'.s' Act 1885. The respondent, who appeared m person, was asked by the Court vwiat he had to say in ex- planation of the findings of the commit'ee. He said that out of twenty matters investi- gated, the commi-tee liad only iound these four charges against him in respect to litiga- tion wliicTi had been going on for two and a half years, aud he induced iu means that he was tmab.e to retain counsel. He imputed the manner in which he had been pursued and persecined to the enmity of Mr. Trneman. He tnen jnoceeded to deal with the findings of the comniit.ee one by one. With regard to the allegation that the agree- ment and the assignment were fictitious in- struments, he asseite that they were bona fide in proof of which he r.-fened to coues- pondence and documents shoeing that lie knew nothing of undischarged bankrupt. He submitted tliat he had a lien upon the judgment in the case for his costs With regard to the alleged fictitrous bills he denied the charge altogether. All the bills were he said, bona tide, which would have been proved, had not trie committee rejected evidence which he ji^ P ^ced befoie them, and as to the recerpt of the £ i0 froni tpe South Wales Finance Comjiany on his pro- mise to pay It into court ana to forward the official receipt he submitted that this simplv meant the- receipt irom his office as the receipt he gave to the company was only an acknow- ledgment without a stamp, and subsequently he signed a proper receipt with a stamp, which was accepted by the company. Has costs in the case amount to ,:£13. as was shown bv the County Court certificate, and if he had paid the money in it would all have been paid cut ^gam to him. He said he had placed a certificate before the committee Mr. Cohen, who appealed for the commit- tee. admitted that some of the representations made bv the respondent were correct, but submitted that the committee had coine to a decision on a very large mass of evidence, and explained that the connnntee had been some- what influenced by the fact that the respon- dent had not cross-examined as to one of the chief charges against linn. Mr. Hawkes ex- plained that he was taken bv surprise in the matter referred to, as it was sprung upon him bv surprise at the second hearing before the committee, but he pointed out that tin. charges against him rested upon the uncorro- borated evidence of Bailey, whom no court would believe on his own testimony, and of Davies. whose evidence before the committee contradicted his sworn affidavits. The Lord Chief Justice, in giving the judg- ment of the court, slid that this was a case of some difficulty, and he thought the Statu- tory Committee was placed in circumstances of great embarrassment in regard to it, in their having their attention directed to so many matters, and such a larije mass of evi- dence. both oral and documentary. Conse- quently the committee seemed to have been misled in regard to the findings which thev had finally arrived at. The evidence before the court showed that he was not acquainted with the fact of Bailey's fiist bankruptcy at the time the transactions took place. The other charges were satisfactorily explained by the respondent, and by the letters produced by him. The most difficult matter to explain was perhaps the matter of the reception bv the respondent of £10 on behalf of Davies fiom the South Wales Finance Company, as ;t appeared that the official receipt was promise I with the County Court receipt, but tlnn it was clear from the certificate produced that the respondent had JS13 owing to lfim for costs, and that payment into court would have, in effect, made no difference, as he would have been entitled to draw the money out again. It was no doubt impjudent and unwise con-1 duct, which could not be said to amount to ] professional misconduct, but as it was conduct which required explanation, the respondent I must pay his own costs. Mr. Trueman, who was present in court, I asked to be heard in the matter, but their Lordships said if he wished to be heard he 1 must appear by counsel. Mr. C. R. Trueman, who said that he had made a number of charges before the Law Society against the respondent, on which j charges the committee had renorted in favour of the respondent, now claimed to be heard on those charges. The Lord Chi f Justice Yon are asking the Court to punish the respondent. Your appli- cation is in the nature of a quasi-criminal charge, and is one which should be made by counsel. Mr. Tip email said that by section 13 of the Solicitors Act, 1888, a complainant was en- titled to apply to the Court to strike a solici- for off the rolls, and he cited "In re Lilley' (1892, 1 Q.B., 759) as an authority that such an application could be made by the com- plainant in person. The Lord Chief Justice said that the point raised by Mr. Trueman was an important one and lie thought it right to state the law clearly on the question as to whether a com- plainant could make such an application in person. Section 13 of the Solicitors Act. which enacted that "provided that any per- son who but for this Act would have been en- titled to apply to the Court to strike a solici- tor off the roll of solicitors, or to apply to re- quire a solicitor to answer allegations con- tained in an affidavit, shall be entitled so to apoly. although the committee is of opinion that there is no prima facie case of mi-scon- duct against the solicitor, and shall be en titled to be heard if the society brings the report of the committee before the Court," rc- served to persons in the position of Mr. True- iran the right to apply to the Court, both when the committee report against a solicitor and also when they do not find a prima facie case against a solicitor. It had for very many years "before the passing of that Act been the practice of the Court that such proceedings taken against solicitors should be conducted by counsel, and that practice had not been in anv way altered by anvihicg in the Solicitors Act. In "Ex parte Pitt (2 Bawling, 439), where an application ot a less serious nature was made against an attorney, it was held such an application must be made by counsel, j Lord Den man in his judgment saying, "The motion against an attorney being in the nature of a criminal information, the Court re- quires that it should be made in person. Otherwise we have not the sanction of a bar- rister for the propriety of such an applica- tion." He was of opinion that, on an applica- tion either alleging that the committee should have found a solicitor guilty of unprofessional conduct or asking the Court to strike a solici- tor off the rolls on the report of a committee, the Court was entitled to have the sanction and protection of counsel to such application, He was. therefore, of opinion that Mr. True- man could not be heard. He onlv desired to add that if the Court was only dealing with a matter of costs, as in "In re Lilley," a solici- tor or applicant mi^ht be heard in person. Mr. Justice Wills said that he had had, both at the Bar, where for many years lie re- presented the Incorporated Law* Society, and since, a great deal of experience in proceed- ings against solicitors and lie had never known an application of the kind. which Mr. Trueman desired to make which was not con- ducted by counsel. He entirely agreed that such an application could only be made by counsel, and that the applicant could not be heard. Mr. Justice Channell concurred.

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