Lawyer struck off, living on benefits
A SOLICITOR has been struck off for failing to show up to pay for a client's property settlement, causing it to be delayed, and not repaying a trust account almost $19,000.
Penelope Ann Corbett, 58, who ran her own practice, Cost Effective Lawyers, before she was declared bankrupt in 2013, is now unemployed and living on Centrelink benefits.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal president Justice Martin Daubney said Ms Corbett, a solicitor for 23 years, was not a fit and proper person to engage in legal practice.
Justice Daubney ordered her name be removed from the roll of solicitors, as a result of her professional misconduct.
Glen Rice QC, for the Legal Services Commissioner, said that Ms Corbett had acted for a client who had deposited $295,000 into her firm's trust account, partly for a property settlement.
When the vendor requested the 2013 settlement date be extended, the Brookfield lawyer assured the client that she would send someone to the settlement and monitor it.
"From that point on, nothing was done,'' Mr Rice told the tribunal.
Nobody attended the settlement on behalf of the client. Mr Rice said the client, who made 50 unsuccessful attempts to contact Ms Corbett, was "abandoned'' by his lawyer and put in a precarious position, at risk of breach of contract.
He then had to borrow money to complete the property settlement at a later date, because his funds were still tied up in the law firm's trust account, and incurred more costs.