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Judge accuses Keddies of "disturbing" conduct
11 February 2011
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Personal injury firm Keddies has copped a severe pasting from a District Court Judge for running a case where there were “serious departures from satisfactory professional conduct”.

Keddies, on behalf of its client Andrew Marshall, had alleged that Marshall's previous lawyers, Stacks, acted negligently in a personal injury claim by allowing him to accept a relatively small settlement. The fact that Stacks had in fact advised Marshall not to accept the settlement didn't seem to bother Keddies. It came up with the novel argument that the firm should have insisted on a second legal opinion and a psychiatric evaluation before following its client's instructions.

However Judge Colefax was far from impressed with Keddies' approach and castigated the firm for all manner of sins, according to a Lawyers Weekly report. He slammed it for failing to pass on crucial advice to Marshall - namely that his claim against Stacks was very unlikely to succeed. He also dished out a knuckle rapping for starting proceedings without its client's express instructions and for forgetting to pass on the fact that senior counsel refused to take on the brief - because he thought the case was hopeless.

    Judge Colefax, how he might have looked

That’s quite a rap sheet. And the news gets worse for Keddies - Judge Colefax is referring the matter to the Legal Services Commissioner: "Unfortunately in my opinion it is correct to say that there were many disturbing departures by Keddies during the course of their retainer from what I regard as acceptable and proper conduct as a solicitor."

Keddies, which is now a subsidiary of Slater & Gordon, is no stranger to controversy - whether it's complaints for alleged over-charging or convictions for assaulting a police office. The firm declined to comment.


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