Attorney-at-law Michael Lorne, also referred to as Miguel Lorne, has won his legal battle against the General Legal Council, GLC.

This after the UK based Privy Council upheld a Court of Appeal ruling overturning a decision barring him from practicing law in Jamaica.

Kimone Thompson reports.

The Privy Council ruling brings an end to the legal standoff between Lorne and the GLC which began in 2017.

The issue arose after a client lodged a complaint accusing Lorne of failing to account for her share of proceeds from the sale of a property.

The legal council’s disciplinary committee found Lorne guilty of professional misconduct and stuck him from the roll of attorneys eligible to practice law in Jamaica.

The Court of Appeal upheld the GLC’s finding of professional misconduct, but determined that the sanction was too severe.

It instead decided that Lorne be suspended for five years, with an additional requirement that he attend continuing legal professional development courses.

The GLC appealed to the Privy Council arguing that it’s sanction against Lorne was not wrong in law and that the Court of Appeal should not have interfered with its decision barring him from practicing law.

The GLC said the appeals court failed to apply sufficient deference to the specialist disciplinary tribunal’s decision.

But in a judgment issued on Thursday, the Privy Council rejected the GLC’s arguments and upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision.

The Law Lords ruled that the Court of Appeal was entitled to interfere with the decision of the GLC’s disciplinary committee and determine what was the appropriate sanction to be applied.

The UK judges say that right of interference stemmed from the Court of Appeal’s finding of an error of law in the disciplinary committee’s reasoning.

They further held that the local court of appeal was within its right to substitute its own judgment for that of the disciplinary panel.

The Privy Council judges accept that the case raises a serious case of professional misconduct.

It says depending on the evaluation of the facts, a disciplinary committee could justify either a striking off of the attorney or a significant suspension from practice.

The court in such a circumstance, says it would have been necessary for the committee to explain why it has opted for suspension rather than a lesser sanction.

Efforts to reach Michael Lorne for comment were unsuccessful.