16 Dec 2013

Urewera raids lawyer facing hearing

7:18 pm on 16 December 2013

Auckland lawyer Charl Hirschfeld is accused of disgraceful and dishonourable behaviour and is facing 12 charges of claiming money from legal aid for court appearances he didn't attend.

Mr Hirschfeld represented Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara in the Urewera Raids trial, was counsel for the court in the case of disgraced lawyer Davina Murray and has also represented the East Coast tribe Ngati Oneone at the Waitangi Tribunal.

The Wellington Law Society brought the case before the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal on Monday.

Mr Hirschfeld is charged with submitting invoices to legal aid services at his hourly rate, which was up to $182 dollars an hour, on 12 occasions in 2009 and 2010. The Law Society says he admits he did not attend court, instead sending another, less experienced, lawyer in his place but billing Legal Aid Services at his higher rate.

The society brought a late application to include allegations that Mr Hirschfeld billed Legal Aid Services for appearances when he was not the approved lawyer.

The tribunal will deliver its decision on whether the additional allegations can be heard when it reconvenes on Tuesday.