Lawyer Tū‘utafaiva’s license suspended again, ordered to pay $10,000 after breach over career

A prominent Tongan lawyer has been suspended for three years for an alleged misconduct, reports said.

Lawyer Siosifa Tu’utafaiva. Photo/Supplied

Siosifa Tu’utafaiva, who has served as an advocate lawyer in a number of high-profile cases, was ordered to pay back TOP$10,000 to four of his clients, the local media reports said.

The reports also said Tu’utafaiva had failed to represent his clients after they paid for his legal services.

Kaniva News contacted the Supreme Court Registrar about the reports.

The former Minister of Police and MP is no stranger to the law. A Supreme Court Order suspended him from practice as a law practitioner for a period of 12 months from July 10, 2013.

That punishment came after the Tonga Law Society’s Disciplinary Committee found him “guilty of two counts of professional misconduct contrary to Section 21(1)(a) of the Act” on October 4,  2012.

A court document at the time said Tu’utafaiva  did not dispute that he had received substantial sums through legal fees, that he had not performed the services for which he had been paid and that he had not repaid the money received, despite repeated requests.

Tu’utafaiva ultimately paid back those complainants’ money after they paid him in 2003 and 2008.

“After taking into account all facts and matters placed before it both by the complainants and the Law Practitioner the Committee found that the ‘ Law Practitioner’s conduct amounted to an abuse of the relationship of confidence and trust between practitioner and client stated in Rule 1.01 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Law Practitioners 2002″.

The Committee also endorsed the view that “the misconduct of the [Law Practitioner] is serious and harmful to the clients and does not reflect the image and standing of the lawyers in Tonga, or elsewhere, too well. It does not promote the integrity and good name of the profession in the Kingdom”.

“The Committee feels that the penalty must be such that not only the Respondent but other lawyers are reminded that they must always act in the best interests of their clients, which is their primary concern”.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.


Latest news

Related news