Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: September 27, 2018 - joined with citation authorized Dec. 7/17 - citation amended October 3, 2019

Homayoun Sebastian Nejat

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

Nature of conduct to be inquired into:

1.  On or between approximately November 20, 2015 and February 11, 2016, in the course of representing MF in a spousal sponsorship application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, you did one or more of the following:

(a)  misappropriated or improperly withdrew some or all of the amount of $1,120, received by you on or about November 20, 2015;

(b)  misappropriated or improperly withdrew some or all of the amount of $1,670, received by you on or about February 11, 2016;

(c)  failed to deposit trust funds received by you into a pooled trust account as soon as practicable, contrary to Rule 3-58 of the Law Society Rules;

(d)  failed to promptly record receipt of the trust funds within seven days, contrary to Rule 3-72(1) of the Law Society Rules; and

(e)  failed to immediately deliver a bill or issue to the client a receipt for funds received, contrary to Rules 3-54 and 3-72(3) of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

2.  Between approximately February 2016 and May 2017, in the course of representing MF in a spousal sponsorship application (the “Application”) to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), you failed to provide your client with the quality of service required of a competent lawyer, contrary to one or more of rules 3.1-2, 3.2-1, and 3.2-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by failing to do one or more of the following:

(a)  submitting a complete Application to IRCC;

(b)  submitting the filing fee for the Application;

(c)  providing your client with complete and accurate relevant information about the status of the Application;

(d)  advising your client that you were suspended from the practice of law between April 11, 2017, and June 28, 2017; and

(e)  advising your locum, Maryam Sodagar, about the existence of your client’s file.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, incompetent performance of duties or a breach of the Act or rules, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

3.  Between October 2016 and May 2017, in the course of representing MF in a spousal sponsorship application (the “Application”) to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), you made statements that you knew or ought to have known were false or misleading, contrary to rules 2.2-1 and 3.2-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, in some or all of the following communications:

(a)  in an email copied to your client on or about October 13, 2016, you implied that the Application had been filed;

(b)  in an email to your client dated April 18, 2017, you stated that you “did escalate the matter”, and that you expected to have news for your client by the end of the month;

(c)  in an email to your client dated May 8, 2017, you stated that:

1.  your client’s case number “could arrive any day”;

2.  that you would send correspondence to IRCC the next day in which you would state that if you did not receive a response from them, the matter would be escalated by you through the office of a Minister of Parliament; and

3.  that you had re-sent a police record check to IRCC;

(d)  in an email to your client dated May 18, 2017, you stated that you were “exploring every avenue that [you could] think of and your files are my number one priority” and;

(e)  in an email to your client dated May 19, 2017, you stated you were “trying to get answers” about the Application for your client.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

4.  Between April 18, 2017 and May 19, 2017, in the course of representing MF in a spousal sponsorship application (the “Application”) to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, you engaged in the practice of law while suspended, contrary to section 15 of the Legal Profession Act, by communicating with your client by email about her Application on one or more of the following dates: April 18, May 1, May 8, May 16, May 18, and May 19, 2017.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

IF

5.  Between October 2016 and May 2017, in the course of representing IF in a spousal sponsorship application (the “Application”) to Citizenship and Immigration Canada/Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), you made statements that you knew or ought to have known were false or misleading, contrary to rules 2.2-1 and 3.2-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, in some or all of the following communications:

(a)  in an email to your client dated October 13, 2016, you stated that you would courier a letter to the IRCC regarding the Application;

(b)  in an email to your client dated December 1, 2016, you stated that you believed you had found the reason for the delay in processing the Application and had rectified it;

(c)  in an email to your client dated December 1, 2016, you implied that you had paid the Application filing fee through a bank or a financial institution, but that this was problematic because Citizenship and Immigration had switched to online credit card payments;

(d)  in an email to your client dated December 1, 2016, you stated that the payment situation had been rectified by you making a payment “again” via credit card online and requesting a refund from the bank;

(e)  in an email to your client dated December 1, 2016, you stated that your client should receive sponsorship approval in “a month and a half or so” implying that all necessary steps in the application process had been satisfied; and

(f)  in an email to your client dated May 30, 2017, you stated you were not available to meet “tomorrow” or “Thursday”, but that you were available to meet “Friday” because the last day of a hearing had been cancelled.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or a breach of the Act or rules, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

 

 

6.  Between approximately May 2015 and June 2017, in the course of representing IF in a spousal sponsorship application (the “Application”) to Citizenship and Immigration Canada/Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), you failed to provide your client with the quality of service required of a competent lawyer, contrary to one or more of rules 3.1-2, 3.2-1, and 3.2-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by failing to do one or more of the following:

(a)  submit the filing fee for the Application;

(b)  provide your client with complete and accurate relevant information about the status of the Application;

(c)  advise your client that you were suspended from the practice of law between April 11, 2017, and June 28, 2017; and

(d)  advise your locum, Maryam Sodagar, about the existence of your client’s file.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, incompetent performance of duties or a breach of the Act or rules, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

7.  In June 2017, in the course of representing IF in a spousal sponsorship application (the “Application”) to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, you engaged in the practice of law while suspended, contrary to section 15 of the Legal Profession Act, by communicating with your client by email about the Application on one or more of the following dates: June 5, 2017, and June 14, 2017.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

8.  Between May 2015 and September 2015, in the course of representing IF in a spousal sponsorship application (the “Application”) to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, you failed to do one or more of the following:

(a)  deposit your client’s retainer into a pooled trust account as soon as practicable, contrary to Rule 3-58 of the Law Society Rules;

(b)  promptly record in an account record funds received from your client, contrary to Rule 3-72(1) of the Law Society Rules; and

(c)  immediately deliver a bill or issue to the client a receipt for funds received, contrary to Rules 3-54 and 3-72(3) of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, contrary to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.