Perth: Lawyer Nicholas Neil Peter Oud has practising certificate cancelled due to professional misconduct

Stock image.
Stock image.

A Perth lawyer, who was found guilty of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct last year, has had a tribunal recommend his removal from the roll of practitioners, had his practising certificate suspended and was ordered to pay costs of more than $50,000.

Nicholas Neil Peter Oud was found guilty in 2018 of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct.

The guilty charges included Mr Oud taking $300,000 from his firm’s trust account.

Earlier this month, the State Administrative Tribunal submitted a report to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of WA recommending that his name is removed from the roll.

The Supreme Court of WA will decide if Mr Oud’s practising certificate is to be suspended.

Mr Oud will have to pay costs of $53,522 to the Legal Profession Complaints Committee.

He was charged with taking $300,000 from the firm’s trust account, which had been received on behalf of Credit Solutions Group.

Mr Oud did not have written consent to take these funds without express written consent and did so “in reckless disregard or with reckless indifference”.

The committee found that he had failed to keep trust records in a way that disclosed the true position of withdrawals from the trust of the Credit Solutions Group loans, he failed to deliver the group’s solicitor an original receipt for the deposit of loan funds into the trust account when requested.

He responded to an email requesting the return of funds from the trust account, but did not disclose that the funds were no longer in that trust account but implied that the loan funds were being retained and made an offer to repay loan funds on condition that a complaint made about his breach be withdrawn.

In another case he allegedly sent a letter, in connection with a creditor’s petition, addressed to the Federal Circuit Court, that contained statements that were “false and misleading”.

The tribunal said the explanations for his conduct were “on occasions, bizarre”.

They added that as a lawyer of more than 20 years who was admitted in 1995, he “should have been well aware of his professional obligations”.

“His conduct is so serious that the practitioner is permanently or indefinitely unfit to practice,” the tribunal said.