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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Unregistered lawyer Saba Hanania owes us thousands, say ‘victims’

unregistered lawyer saba hanania also runs RMC Transport Brisbane
Accident victim Alon Vella on his property in Castlereagh on the outskirts of Sydney. Picture: Britta Campion


NICOLA BERKOVIC
The Australian

A father of four who was seriously injured in a truck accident is one of at least eight people who say they’ve been ripped off by a Sydney lawyer and are angry at the lack of response from regulators.

Alon Vella accepted a $900,000 payout after he was ­seriously injured in a truck accident in 2006. The money was meant to help him support his family, but instead he received just $500,000 and is still fighting his lawyer — Saba El-Hanania — for the rest.

The payout money landed in Mr El-Hanania’s trust account in about October 2015. Mr El-Hanania finally gave Mr Vella an itemised bill in September 2016 — for $295,000 in legal fees, including 500 hours of his own time, plus another $180,000 in disbursements.

An independent cost assessor determined that the legal fees were worth just $44,000.

In 2018, Mr El-Hanania agreed he owed Mr Vella $213,000. But, despite at least eight judgments in four different courts, Mr Vella is still chasing his money — a process he said had been even more stressful than the accident.

Mr Vella said he first complained to the NSW Law Society and the Legal Services Commissioner in late 2015. In February, the NSW Law Society finally appointed a manager to Mr El-Hanania’s legal practice. But those owed money say it’s too little, too late.

Saba Hanania also runs a car transport business "RMC Transport".

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