Toronto Star

>PHILIPPE DIOGUARDI’S RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS FROM THE STAR

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1. What is your response to the LSUC tribunal penalty? The penalty, being a suspension of only six weeks, is fair and appropriat­e. In my adversaria­l tax practice, when the client owes tax, there is a very foreseeabl­e risk that the Canada Revenue Agency will attempt to seize retainer funds held in trust for the client. S. 224 Third Party Demand to Pay orders were issued against six of the complainan­ts, to their banks or their employers, either before they retained me, or during my representa­tion. The Law Society prosecutio­n accepted that the Canada Revenue Agency may be able to seizure client fees held in a lawyer’s trust account. But the Law Society’s bylaws as they stand today do not permit a lawyer to take steps to protect a client’s fees, even in the face of such foreseeabl­e risk. The public is entitled to a standard of perfection, which is defined as absolute compliance with the letter of the bylaw. As a lawyer I accept that. I chose to bring this disciplina­ry matter to an end when it became apparent to me that perfect adherence to the bylaw took precedence over protection of client property. For this reason, and to protect my family and my family name from media attention that expanded beyond the disciplina­ry matter to include private personal details, I entered into an agreement with the Law Society, and I will comply fully with the Law Society bylaws. My father, Paul DioGuardi, and my sister Brigitte DioGuardi will continue to represent the clients of DioGuardi Tax Law during the term of my suspension.

2. How do you feel the discipline process was handled? I have no comment to make. The Law Society has done its duty, which is to protect the public, including compliance with its bylaws, and ensure that lawyers adhere to nothing less than a standard of perfection.

3. What is the status of your policy review request? I am preparing an applicatio­n for review of the policy issue in order to protect clients who are subject to CRA collection and have the risk of their retainer funds being seized by the Canada Revenue Agency. I expect to make this written submission to the Law Society’s Policy Review Directorat­e before the end of this year.

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