Former client doubts Woolridge will pay
A former client of a bankrupt lawyer said yesterday he had never paid her any money on the more than $63,000 that a court ruled was owed to her.
Lynda Swan added that she feared barrister Rick Woolridge would never pay back the cash as ordered by the Supreme Court in 2014.
Ms Swan said: “I don't think he intends to pay me at all.”
She added that she needed the money.
Ms Swan said that Mr Woolridge continued to practise law after the 2014 judgment and that “my salary a week doesn't even add up to one hour that he charged”.
She added: “Mr Woolridge was allowed to work in order to pay his debts — his creditors. And he was working and not doing it.”
Ms Swan was speaking after a bankruptcy order was made last month against Mr Woolridge by Chief Justice Narinder Hargun.
Mr Woolridge told The Royal Gazette last month that the bankruptcy was sparked after Ms Swan took legal action. Ms Swan, 69, from Hamilton Parish, said Mr Woolridge's statement was true. She added: “I'm not the only creditor.”
Ms Swan said that there were “12 or more” creditors owed money by Mr Woolridge. She added: “We had a meeting with the Official Receiver. We have been to court several times, and Mr Woolridge promises that he is going to do this and do that ... and doesn't do it.”
Mr Woolridge was ordered to repay Ms Swan after the Supreme Court ruled that he had overcharged her by more than $60,000. Ms Swan complained that Mr Woolridge had billed her at 5 per cent interest a month instead of a year for legal services.
Mr Woolridge argued at the time that Ms Swan had agreed to pay a higher interest rate and that she still owed him more than $24,000.
But Ian Kawaley, then the Chief Justice, found that Ms Swan and Mr Woolridge had never reached an agreement on the interest rate and awarded Ms Swan $63,498.60.
Ms Swan said that Mr Woolridge was supposed to register all his clients with the Official Receiver.
Mr Woolridge said yesterday that he was under a court order about his bankruptcy.
He added: “I shall, as always, abide by the law.”
Mr Woolridge said that any questions Ms Swan had about her money should be directed to the Official Receiver.
He added: “Of all the creditors, she is the only one who attended court on each occasion.
“It was at her insistence that the bankruptcy order was applied for as they told her that it would disrupt my work.
“Her reply was that she did not care. She has now achieved her aim.”
Lawyers who are declared bankrupt lose their practising certificate under the Bermuda Bar Act. Mr Woolridge said last month that he planned to apply for a temporary certificate.
He added that he had also hired a debt collection agency to try and recover unpaid bills from clients.
Mr Woolridge said that he was owed $1.7 million by “hundreds” of clients and that he would pay his bills once he had collected the outstanding cash.
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