Roy v Roy [2020] NZFC 7200

Published 29 March 2021

Relationship property proceedings — property sharing agreement — interlocutory application — direction to allow lawyer to continue acting — cost and delay — Family Proceedings Act 1980, s 182 — Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, rr 13.5 & 13.5.2 — Li v Liu [2018] NZCA 528, [2019] NZAR 259. This was an application by the respondent to the relationship property proceedings for a direction that his lawyers be allowed to continue to act on his behalf. It had come to light during the course of preliminary exchange of memoranda that one of the respondent's lawyers may have to give evidence in relation to a property sharing agreement between the parties. The application was opposed. Rule 13.5 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules ("the Rules") stipulates that where a lawyer is acting and is to give evidence of a contentious nature in that proceeding they must immediately inform the Court, and unless the Court directs otherwise cease acting. Counsel for the respondent submitted that the Court should not interfere with the respondent's right to continue using his longstanding lawyer and that any change in counsel would cause delay and cost. The Judge noted that the risk of delay and added cost were negligible, and that the interests of the lawyer and the respondent would not wholly align in this case. This fell in favour of the lawyer no longer acting for the respondent. The Judge declined the application to allow the lawyer to continue acting for the respondent. Judgment Date: 25 August 2020.