Nova Scotia lawyer disbarred for pocketing cash supposed to be held in trust

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The Canadian Press

KENTVILLE - A Nova Scotia lawyer with a history of misappropriating cash has been disbarred for wrongly pocketing thousands of dollars in trust money from his clients.

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has also ordered Peter van Feggelen to pay $10,000 and ruled he cannot apply for readmission to the bar for at least five years.

In a decision released Monday, the society said the Kentville man deposited $15,000 from a client that was supposed to be held in trust into his personal account in November 2011 and then spent the money.

In another case, the society said van Feggelen deposited $50,000 from two other clients that was also supposed to be held in trust into his personal account last August.

The deposits breached conditions imposed on van Feggelen in June 2010 by a hearing panel after he was charged with professional misconduct for improperly taking about $30,000 from client trust funds in 2009.

At the time, the panel ruled that van Feggelen could continue practising under the supervision of another lawyer for two years, who would be responsible for accepting and managing any trust moneys from clients.

The society said in 2010 that van Feggelen was seeking medical treatment for what it described as “severe mental health problems” — issues that it said continue to be mitigating circumstances in his behaviour.

Van Feggelen graduated from law school at Dalhousie University in 1988 and was called to the bar the following year.

The society said van Feggelen was working as a lawyer handling personal injury, criminal defence and family law cases at the time of the most recent complaints.

Organizations: Dalhousie University

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Kentville

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  • Katherine
    July 10, 2013 - 12:31

    If Mr. van Feggelen's severe mental health issues prevent him from being able to determine right from wrong, he should not be permitted to practice law. Period. He should also be made to pay back the money he stole from clients.

  • daisy
    July 10, 2013 - 11:41

    so do the people he ripped off get their money back?

  • Robert
    July 10, 2013 - 10:16

    Let me see, He stole close to $100,000 gets fined $10,000 can be reinstated in five years. Is there any restoration? Who gets the fine money? Let me guess, the NSBS. I know what the BS stands for. If I defrauded the public of that much money I have a feeling I wouldn't be getting a slap on the wrist.

  • jr
    July 10, 2013 - 08:43

    Just think, these are the people that we are supposed to put our trust in to help us in times of need. As far as I am concerned, he should have the book thrown at him and charged as a felon with no option to ever practise law again. If it were anyone else, that is what would happen to them.