After a week in court, it was time for Per Danielsen himself to take the witness stand in room 257 of the Oslo district court. There he quickly launched a verbal attack on the other party, the state at the Bar Licensing Board.
The background to the trial is that Danielsen had his license withdrawn in December 2022. The Bar Licensing Board concluded that he was “unfit to practice law” and that he had lost “the trust that is necessary in the profession”, as stated in the decision. Danielsen has not been allowed to act as a lawyer since before Christmas last year.
– I have two master’s degrees from the University of Oslo. One in law and a degree in political science, where I have studied statistics as a separate subject. And therefore I know how flawed the State’s use of statistics has been in this case. It is said that there are three types of lies. There are black lies, white lies and statistics. Incorrect use of statistics is like illuminating something with the help of one lamp post. It only illuminates a very limited area, Danielsen began, before adding:
– They can’t even count correctly. There are several cases that have been counted several times.
Danielsen’s son, Håkon Danielsen, who has also been stripped of his lawyer’s licence, is a legal assistant in the case. He confronted his father with the fact that he had received criticism for not having taken the criticism from the Supervisory Board for legal professions to heart.
– I think what has been done here is absolutely right, replied Per Danielsen.
Used suspended attorney
Large parts of Tuesday were spent reviewing how Danielsen has used Lars Eirik Mørk as a legal investigator in a number of cases Per Danielsen has invoiced clients for. Mørk’s lawyer’s license was suspended in 2012 when he went bankrupt as a result of non-payment of taxes and fees to the public sector.
But this did not prevent Mørk from working on cases for Danielsen. An agreement has been presented which shows that Danielsen receives 60 per cent of the hourly rate that the customers are invoiced for Mørk’s work, while Mørk himself is left with 40 per cent.
The state believes that in this way Danielsen has bypassed the legal aid monopoly and that it may also be a case of fraud on the part of the clients, who were essentially unaware that Mørk had done much of the work they thought Danielsen was behind.
– I have received a draft from Lars, and I have some comments on it. Then we adjust and change it. I have not been paid for this review. Who I use as employees is my choice, Danielsen maintained.
– Going back to the dawn of time
Judge Kim Heger interjected that this part of the case is not about whether Danielsen has the right to use legal advisers, but rather what connection these have to the law firm and how their work is billed to the clients.
– Helper is a broad term. These are people with legal expertise. The Supervisory Board does not like this. But that is the applicable law, said Danielsen.
– Why do you only remove Mørk’s name from invoices to clients, asked lawyer Aleksander Tønnessen at the Government Attorney.
– Because we have this event that goes back to the dawn of time.
– Can you understand that people feel cheated?
– No. There is no trickery involved. I can use whoever I want.
– Yes. You can, but how do you do it? That’s what the theme is, Judge Heger interjected.
Before the weekend, it became known that the Supervisory Board for Legal Practice has reported Per Danielsen to the police for a number of breaches of the Criminal Code, including embezzlement and fraud. The police report is with the Oslo police district.
Danielsen was also asked about how the law firm combined around NOK 3.5 million from several client accounts and took this out as dividends. The state believes this is a breach of the money laundering regulations, because they believe it is a transaction that falls under the money laundering regulations. Danielsen strongly disagrees with this.
Took dividends after criticized transaction
– This is not a transaction. This is an ordinary lawyer’s assignment, said Danielsen, who insisted that it was perfectly normal to combine the funds in the client account when the assignment was completed.
– What connection is there between the merging of the funds and the dividend, asked lawyer Tønnessen.
– Absolutely no connection. It just happened at the same time, Danielsen replied.
Later, Danielsen explained why he takes out settlement complaints against former clients who are dissatisfied, in order to collect the fees. This stops the clients’ opportunity to have their case dealt with in the disciplinary system.
– Why court proceedings, asked Danielsen’s legal representative Linnea Tereza Karlberg.
– If we look at the disciplinary charges, several of them are obviously wrong. The disciplinary system has limited resources. They get little pay and little time. They can’t always hit it right. Unfortunately, I have been the victim of wrongful convictions. It is better to have a contradiction and run it in court, Danielsen replied, adding that his company has won over 70 percent of the debt collection cases they have taken to court.
Danielsen believes it is premature for the Supervisory Board and the Bar Licensing Board to criticize the practice.
– This is a constitutionally protected right that all people in Norway have. Therefore, I don’t understand why they should bring this up. More and more lawyers have started with the same. It is an interesting observation. We have found a better solution, maintained Danielsen, who added that they have had an average of five to six such cases in court each year for the past five years.
– There is nothing like that in debt collection. It is much higher in business, said Danielsen.(Terms)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We would like you to share our cases using links, which lead directly to our pages. Copying or other forms of use of all or part of the content may only take place with written permission or as permitted by law. For further terms see here.
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