THE Law Society of British Columbia has suspended lawyer Sumandip Singh from practicing law for two years after a disciplinary panel found that he had committed professional misconduct in an array of matters, “comprising in total more than 40 events of professional misconduct.”
(The Law Society stated on its website that by agreement, the suspension will start on May 1).
The decision says that in general terms Singh’s misconduct can be described under five broad headings:
(a) facilitating in a variety of methods the unauthorized practice of law by Gerhard Albertus Pyper, a recently disbarred lawyer;
(b) misconduct in communications and submissions with respect to members of the public, other lawyers and the courts/tribunals;
(c) misconduct by improperly commissioning documents for use in court proceedings and Land Title Office matters;
(d) misconduct demonstrated by the provision of legal services to clients that failed to meet the quality of service required by members of the legal profession; and
(e) misconduct in his dealings with the Law Society during the course of the investigation.
The disciplinary panel notes: “Over a period of several years, with no apparent justification or motive, [Singh] allowed a notorious disbarred lawyer to have free access to the offices, staff and equipment of [Singh] with full knowledge that the disbarred lawyer was practising law, rendering accounts to unsuspecting clients, and generally carrying on the misbehaviour that led to the disbarment of the lawyer in the first place.”
It also notes: “[Singh] was involved in a lengthy litigation involving Worksafe BC and several clients over a somewhat protracted period of time. In the course of his communications with government ministries involved with Worksafe BC, [Singh] made comments suggesting that Worksafe BC was guilty of discrimination to an “astounding” extent, that the internal review process at Worksafe BC is “to say the least,” corrupt, and that officers are tampering with evidence just to dismiss review applications.”
It adds: “In a letter to counsel for Worksafe BC, the [Singh] wrote “. . . we trust you had the opportunity to reflect on your disgraceful conduct” and “your conduct and the level of corruption in the ranks of Worksafe BC has reached levels of unacceptable proportions.” We have repeated here just a very small number of the multiple examples of entirely inappropriate communications delivered and adopted by [Singh]. … The degree to which [Singh] is guilty of uncivil communications is both astounding and inexcusable. The circumstances of this allegation by itself will justify a very serious penalty. These instances are not isolated and occurred over a very long span of time.”
While discussing the appropriate action against Singh, the disciplinary panel states: “The last minute acceptance of responsibility for the array of professional misconduct arrived in our view too late to be a factor in mitigation of an appropriate suspension. Simply put, there are no mitigating circumstances of any moment in this case.”
It says: “We accordingly order that [Singh] serve a suspension from the practice of law for a two-year period, commencing on April 1, 2021 or such other reasonable start date as may be agreed by the parties. In selecting this duration of suspension we believe that we have applied the principle of a global penalty and have not provided an accumulation of individual penalties for each identified event of misconduct. Had we done that it should be clear that the suspension would have a duration in excess of five years or more.”
Also, Singh must practise under the supervision of a supervising lawyer approved by the Practice Standards Committee and on terms and conditions specified by that committee for the first full year following his return to practice.
Singh has to pay $41,098.77 in costs.
For the full decision: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/lsbc/apps/hearings/viewreport.cfm?hearing_id=1467