Lawyer Banned For Dodgy Dealings In Immigration Claim
In early April 2023, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal handed down its decision to an immigration legal professional removing him from the prestigious roll of solicitors in connection with accusations that he had advised a client to approach an accountancy professional to gain paperwork of a fraudulent nature as corroborating evidence for his application. The legal professional was held to have conducted himself deceitfully. The Regulator also hit the lawyer with a financial sanction of seventy-thousand pounds. Should such persons choose to act similarly they risk losing their permission to operate as a solicitor.
What Happened In The Case?
The professional journey of the lawyer had been a relatively successful one and he appears on the facts of the case to have risen through the ranks of the prestigious profession by climbing to prominent management roles at the legal services provider. However, like so many cases of this kind matters appear to have deteriorated very quickly when he was approached one day by a client who was seeking advice on an immigration application to get a passport for the husband of the client who was due to arrive in the UK from Pakistan and did not meet income thresholds set down by the UK Government. During the course of the conversion which took place between the client and the legal professional, the lawyer appears to have recommended to him the services of an accountancy professional as part of an effort to gain access to fraudulent paperwork evidencing the application for the client. The legal professional also suggested that the client falsely misrepresent that she had another source of employment to exaggerate her financial position. The legal professional also manufactured documents to create a misleading impression. The legal professional also provided other legal services on behalf of the client such as research.
Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out…
However, unbeknown to the legal professional at the center of the proceedings his life was about to take a dark turn when it transpired that the seeming potential client was a member of the press, working in their respective capacity as a reporter. The press professional appears to have recorded the conversion which took place in the Urdu language and was disclosed to the regulatory authorities. The legal professional claimed in response to the allegations that he was going along with the act and had claimed to have been the injured party of a conspiracy.
What Did the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Say?
However, despite his efforts to protest his innocence, his excuses were rejected out of hand by the SDT. It commented that the lawyer was in cognitive control of the attempt to apply for a visa by using the vehicle of fraudulent misrepresenting the position of the client. The SDT took a dim view of the conduct of the legal profession, banning him from operating and imposing a financial sanction.
Lawyers operating in this space need to approach with caution in light of this case and to avoid being prevented from practice need to:
- avoid the need to create fake client documents
- act with honesty and integrity at all times
- conduct themselves in a professional manner
- Do not recommend clients needlessly approach accountancy services and
- avoid fraudulently purporting to have a second employment position to strengthen an otherwise weak application.
Should they do so it will give them a higher likelihood of reducing the chances of being struck off.
If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us.
Written by Adam Green
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