Non-lawyers fined for giving legal advice

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Two men charged with engaging in legal practice despite not being a lawyer, have lost their appeal in a Perth court.

James Dean and Mark Jeffrey Simonsen were charged by the Legal Practice Board in 2012 after they charged a man $5000 for legal assistance and documents, despite not being lawyers.

They both appealed the convictions in the WA Supreme Court but both were dismissed saying the proposed grounds were confusing and difficult to understand.

“The written submissions, including the supplementary submissions, only add to the confusion and incomprehension,” Justice Robert Mazza said, adding that the grounds had no reasonable prospect of succeeding.

Dean was fined $6000 plus costs of $9478 and Simonsen was fined $5000 and costs of $6747.

Dean advised the man, who was going through a divorce, to make his wife’s life “as unpleasant as possible” so the settlement figure would be more favourable.  Dean also advised him to file a violence restraining order against her, an AAP report said.

He also attended a meeting with the couple to assist in settling a property dispute, assisting in preparing annulment documents after he advised the husband put a caveat on the house.

Dean failed to refund the money after told the husband that he no longer wished to be involved in the dispute.