16 June 2008

Keddies Lawyers -- An Update

Today's Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the allegations against Keddies Lawyers for professional misconduct, which includes falsifying documents and overcharging, is drawing many past clients out of the proverbial woodwork and many of these former clients consider themselves to be victims and have supporting evidence to "prove" their claims.

The claims of the clients will still have to go through the mill so to speak. It must be noted that none of the allegations are yet to be proven against Keddies. Nevertheless, the most recent former client to come out of the woodwork, Ms. Hsu Li Ching (photo), who has stated unequivocally that she was asked to sign forms that included blank spaces for compensation amounts to be claimed and paid as well as blank spaces for dates and other important information.

Ms. Hsu has received compensation cheques totalling some AUD 130,000 but she is unsure whether this represents the total amount awarded or it is the amount she receives after Keddies fees and expenses are deducted. I would be guessing this is the net amount after fees and other expenses have been deducted as a final bill was never sent to her with respect to the payout or the fees deducted.

The longer this goes on and the more digging that gets done the more horror stories emerge. Another former Keddies client received less than a third of her AUD 150,000 payout after Keddies fees and expenses were deducted. The client in this case was a Ms. Cissy Chen who after suffering her compensation claimable accident returned to Beijing. Keddies sent its then Chinese Liaison Officer to Beijing to get signatures on documents and Ms. Chen was one of the clients that were alleged to have signed documents.

It must be noted that the Chinese Liaison Officer in this instance is an Australian Citizen, Mr. Lee Sheng. Mr. Lee is now involved in a legal dispute with Keddies as he has since been dismissed from his Keddies employment. However, the signature of Mr. Lee appears on the forms supposedly signed by Ms. Chen but unfortunately when the dates signed are compared to Mr. Lee's passport one finds that Mr. Lee was not even in Beijing on those dates.

In conjunction with the earlier post it is clear that a pattern of overcharging is emerging. It is going to be interesting to see how Keddies justifies fees that are regularly taking upwards of 65% of the compensation payments awarded to Keddies clients.

I guess the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner still has some work to do yet in order to finalize the complaints against Keddies Lawyers and particularly the claim by Russell Keddie that his firm has never demanded that clients sign forms with blank spaces.

Watch this space...

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