News State Western Australia News Perth lawyer deemed not fit to practise

Perth lawyer deemed not fit to practise

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A disgraced Perth lawyer who grossly overcharged his clients will be struck from the roll of legal practitioners.

Paul O’Halloran, whose company O’Halloran Legal specialises in personal injury and accident compensation cases, was suspended from practising earlier this year for six months.

On Wednesday, the full bench of Western Australia’s Supreme Court agreed with a State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) recommendation that he be removed from the practitioners roll, saying he was not a fit and proper person to practise law.

The substantial overcharges occurred over 12 years, O’Halloran had repeatedly exploited vulnerable clients who had all suffered a personal injury, and the misconduct had continued even after an adverse SAT finding, the judges said.

And he had not been frank with the court regarding adverse findings against him in England.

O’Halloran also must pay about $120,000 in compensation to five clients and the court costs of the Legal Profession Complaints Committee.

The judges said it was unclear whether he would be able to do so, having been denied income from practising law since April, but noted he owned three properties in WA and one in England.

There was also evidence he had bought antiques and paintings worth $600,000, some or all appearing to be part of his superannuation fund.