A veteran Halifax defence lawyer has quit practising law in the wake of a scathing decision by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

Lance Scaravelli's resignation was approved at a meeting of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society last week.

The society had been investigating the 69-year-old lawyer since it received a decision in 2011 from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, which said Scaravelli had failed his client — a Dartmouth school teacher accused of sexual assault.

''The quality of service did not worsen through the file, it was simply very poorly managed from start to finish.' - Memo from the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society

The court said "the conduct and failures of his trial counsel amount to incompetence and the incompetence resulted in a miscarriage of justice."

The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial but in December, the Crown withdrew the charges against the teacher because the teenage complainant did not want to go through another trial.

In a memo, the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society said it found that "Mr. Scaravelli appeared to have ignored his client's wishes and instructions throughout the retainer."

The memo goes on to say that "the file was managed consistently badly throughout; i.e. the quality of service did not worsen through the file, it was simply very poorly managed from start to finish."

While he was being investigated, Scaravelli voluntarily gave up appearing in court, effective April 2012. He began winding down his practice shortly after and his official retirement was June 2013.