Law Society of Singapore v Ravindra Samuel

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeTan Lee Meng J
Judgment Date26 January 1999
Neutral Citation[1999] SGHC 28
Citation[1999] SGHC 28
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 1318 of
Defendant CounselCR Rajah SC and Burton Chen (Tan, Rajah & Cheah)
SubjectPrinciples to consider in deciding whether suspension or striking off appropriate,Legal Profession,Professional conduct,s 83 Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 1994 Ed),Grossly improper conduct
Publication Date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselPrem Gurbani (Gurbani & Co)
Date26 January 1999
Facts

Ravindra Samuel (`the respondent`) was called to the Bar on 12 February 1986 and is an advocate and solicitor of 12 years standing. At all material times, he was employed as a legal assistant by the firm Niru & Co.

Sometime in February 1996, one R Kalamohan, then a partner at Niru & Co, was instructed by one Jais bin Abdul to act in a claim against one Hassan bin Mohamed. The matter was assigned to the respondent. Niru & Co`s file reference in respect of this matter was NKP.1412.96. Sometime in the middle of 1996, Jais bin Abdul handed over to the respondent the sum of $2,416.35 in cash as payment of professional fees due to Niru & Co. The respondent did not however pay this money into the firm`s account.

Sometime in January 1997, Jais bin Abdul spoke to one Ms Larine Tan. Ms Larine Tan informed him that there was an outstanding bill of $2,416.35 for professional fees which he has not paid. Jais bin Abdul claimed that he had handed over the money for the professional fees due to Niru & Co to the respondent in 1996. Ms Larine Tan checked with the accounts department and informed Jais bin Abdul that their record showed that they had not received any money from him. Jais bin Abdul insisted that he had personally handed the money over to the respondent. Ms Larine Tan reproduced this conversation in an attendance note to the respondent dated 31 January 1997. The respondent appended the following to the attendance note:
Spoke to Jais. He confirm money not paid. Bill outstanding.



On 10 March 1997, Ms Larine Tan spoke to R Kalamohan. She informed him that Jais bin Abdul had told her that he had paid the sum of $2,416.35 in cash to the respondent, whereas the respondent had recorded in the file that Jais bin Abdul had confirmed that he had not paid the money and that the bill was still outstanding. R Kalamohan then spoke to the respondent. The respondent admitted that he had received the money from Jais bin Abdul but had lost it.

On 11 March 1997, Ms Larine Tan spoke to R Kalamohan again, in respect of file reference number NKP.1220.95. She said that the client in that case, one Mr Liow, had handed over $1,000 in cash to the respondent. Mr Liow then decided not to proceed in view of the costs involved. She asked the respondent if he wished to send Mr Liow a final bill, but the respondent kept procrastinating. She then spoke to the wife of Mr Liow, who said that they had handed the $1,000 to the respondent and had not taken it back. The money had not been paid into the firm`s account.

R Kalamohan then wrote a memorandum to NK Pillai, the managing partner of the firm, informing him of these matters. NK Pillai assigned one Liew Teck Huat to investigate the matter. Liew Teck Huat sent a memorandum to the respondent asking him for an explanation. The respondent replied in a memorandum dated 14 March 1997, explaining that (a) in respect of file reference number NKP.1412.96, he had lost the money and had intended to replace the money from his salary over the course of a few months and (b) in respect of file reference number NKP.1220.95, he had no recollection of the matter.

R Kalamohan then made a formal complaint to the Law Society in a letter dated 4 April 1997 against the respondent founded on the above facts. The Law Society preferred the following charges against the respondent:

First charge

That Ravindra Samuel is guilty of grossly improper conduct in the discharge of his professional duties within
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63 cases
  • Law Society of Singapore v Ahmad Khalis bin Abdul Ghani
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 21 August 2006
    ...solicitors from similar conduct is paramount. In the oft-cited words of Yong Pung How CJ in Law Society of Singapore v Ravindra Samuel [1999] 1 SLR 696 (“Ravindra Samuel”) at It is not simply a question of punishing the solicitor concerned. A further consideration must be what course should......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Ganesan Krishnan
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 13 February 2003
    ...purpose of these disciplinary proceedings must not be confused with that of a civil suit. In Law Society of Singapore v Ravindra Samuel [1999] 1 SLR 696 at 699-700, this court emphasised three objectives for the imposition of penalty against an errant advocate and solicitor: (i) punishment ......
  • The Law Society of Singapore v Tham Yu Xian Rick
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    • 17 August 1999
    ...Law Society of Singapore v Narmal Singh [1996] 1 SLR (R) 151; [1996] 2 SLR 184 (refd) Law Society of Singapore v Ravindra Samuel [1999] 1 SLR (R) 266; [1999] 1 SLR 696 (folld) Law Society of Singapore v Vardan VCS [1999] 1 SLR (R) 605; [1999] 2 SLR 229 (refd) Mohomed Jiffry Muljee, Re [1994......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Subbiah Pillai
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    ...Sir Thomas Bingham MR in Bolton v Law Society [1994] 1 WLR 512 and adopted by this court in Law Society of Singapore v Ravindra Samuel [1999] 1 SLR 696 and Law Society of Singapore v Wong Sin Yee [2003] 3 SLR 209, (a) punishment of the errant solicitor for his misconduct; (b) deterrence aga......
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