Re Shankar Alan s/o Anant Kulkarni and Another Application

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChoo Han Teck J
Judgment Date17 May 2007
Neutral Citation[2007] SGHC 68
Citation[2007] SGHC 68
Published date07 June 2007
Subject MatterLegal Profession,Findings of disciplinary committee quashed by High Court,Disciplinary procedures,Whether order of costs may be made against disciplinary committee,Whether costs should be ordered against Law Society for withdrawal of originating summons issued to respondent to show cause
Date17 May 2007
Defendant CounselMahmood Gaznavi (Mahmood Gaznavi & Partners)
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 589 of 2006 Summons No 1692 of 2007,Originating Summons No 668 of 2006
Plaintiff CounselDaniel Koh (Rajah & Tann)

17 May 2007

Choo Han Teck J:

1 The only issue before me was whether Shankar Alan s/o Anant Kulkarni (the respondent in this Originating Summons) was entitled to costs. In January 2006, the respondent was found guilty by a Disciplinary Committee of the Law Society on three charges of gross misconduct. Consequently, the Law Society applied by this originating summons for him to appear before a court of three judges to show cause why he should not be disciplined. In the meantime, the respondent applied by Originating Summons 668 of 2006 to have the findings of the Disciplinary Committee quashed on various grounds, including the allegation that it did not discharge its duty impartially. The findings of the Committee were quashed by the High Court on 27 October 2006. With that result, this originating summons issued to the respondent to show cause was no longer viable and the Law Society thus applied for leave to withdraw it.

2 Mr Gaznavi for the respondent argued that leave to discontinue should be given together with an order for costs against the Law Society for the withdrawal of this originating summons, which costs, if payable, would not be very much in the event because not much costs had been incurred (the bulk of the work had gone into Originating Summons 668 of 2006, for which costs had been awarded to the respondent) as well as for the costs in respect of the hearing before the Disciplinary Committee.

3 Mr Daniel Koh submitted on behalf of the Law Society that no costs should be awarded by reason of Rule 24 of the Legal Profession (Disciplinary Committee Proceedings) Rules (Cap 161, Rule 2)(“the Rules”). That rule provided as follows:

(2) Except as provided in section 93(2), the Disciplinary Committee shall have no power to award costs to or against a solicitor in any Disciplinary Committee proceedings commenced against the solicitor.

Section 93(2) of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 2001 Rev Ed)(“the Act”) provides as follows:

In the event of the Disciplinary Committee making a determination under subsection (1)(b) or (c), the Committee may make an order for payment by any party of costs or of such sum as the Committee may consider a reasonable contribution towards costs.

The above provisions thus excluded the power to award costs in circumstances where s 93(1)(a) applied, namely, where “no cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action exists under s 83”.

4 There is one other statutory provision to be set out before the issue may...

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