The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society has ordered a Dartmouth lawyer to wind up his practice and has appointed a custodian to take it over.

David Richey has been a sole practitioner, operating Royalty Corner Law Office since 1999. His practice consisted mostly of civil matters.

Richey was placed on administrative suspension early last year for failing to file an annual trust account report. The executive director of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, Darrel Pink, said when Richey returned from suspension, it was determined he should wind up his practice.

Richey was supposed to close his practice by the end of last year, but he informed the society he still has about 10 clients. The society went to court this week to have another lawyer appointed custodian to oversee the end of Richey's practice.

Richey was found guilty of professional misconduct and professional incompetence by the bar society in 2002. At the time, the society noted Richey was a diligent lawyer who worked hard for his clients. However, the society said he made serious mistakes.

"When a pattern of such poor judgment emerges, as it did in this instance, good lawyering skills on some files is no defence to incompetent lawyering on other files," the society said in its 2002 decision.

"When the pattern of individual acts of neglect becomes troublingly predictable, then the line is crossed from isolated acts of error in judgment to incompetence."

Richey has practised law since 1978 and is in his early 60s.