by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
Queensland Solicitor & Consumer Advocate
Chief Justice of Queensland Paul de Jersey has warned my State’s lawyers, when they write letters of demand on behalf of clients, to be careful before resorting to any “even arguably threatening conduct”. His warning came recently in the course of the dismissal of a disciplinary action taken against Gold Coast solicitor Michael David Sing.
This application was made by the Legal Services Commissioner to Queensland’s Legal Practice Tribunal. No order was made for costs, although Mr Sing was represented by a silk and a junior briefed by Brisbane solicitors Brian Bartley & Associates.
In April 2006 Mr Sing sent a letter of demand on his law firm’s letterhead to Gold Coast resident Mr Andrew Habberfield whose company leased a property from Mr Sing and his solicitor wife, Susan Sing. Cheques for the bond money and two rent payments had previously been dishonoured. Mr Sing’s letter not only expected full payment of rent as it came due but also enclosed a copy of a letter which would be sent to the Southport Police Station if payments were not made, or if there was any damage to the property apart from wear and tear. The draft letter to the Police requested an investigation of the dishonouring of the bond and rent cheques.
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