Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: Nov. 5, 2019; amended November 15, 2021

Tejinder Singh Dhillon

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:

AY (File No. [number])

1.  On approximately January 22, 2015, while acting for your client AY in connection with a real estate matter, you did one or both of the following:

a)  misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal from trust of $1,000,000 by way of trust cheque no. [number] payable to [numbered company] BC Ltd., a company in which you had an interest , when neither you nor [numbered company] BC Ltd. were entitled to those funds, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-56 [now Rule 3-64] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties to your client;

b)  failed to honour the trust commitment you gave in your January 21, 2015 letter to TR, lawyer, to hold the $1,000,000 in trust as set out, contrary to one or both of rules 7.2-11 and 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

2.  Between approximately January 23, 2015 and March 10, 2015, in the course of representing your client AY in connection with a real estate matter, you represented to another lawyer that you held $1,000,000 in trust, when you knew or ought to have known this was not true, contrary to rule 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

3.  On approximately March 10, 2015, you misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal of $175,000 from your pooled trust account, by withdrawing or authorizing the withdrawal of $1,000,000 on behalf of your client AY, when you held only $825,000 to the credit of that client, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-55 and 3-56(1.2) [now Rules 3-63 and 3-64(3)] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties to your other clients.

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

V/MV (File Nos [number] and [number])

  1. On approximately February 2, 2016, while acting for your client V/MV in connection with a real estate matter, you misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal from trust of $300,000 by way of trust cheque no. [number] payable to [numbered company] BC Ltd., a company in which you had an interest, when neither you nor [numbered company] BC Ltd. were entitled to those funds, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-64 of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties to your client.

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

MI (File No. [number])

  1. Between approximately December 2014 and March 2015, while acting for your client MI in connection with a real estate matter, you misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or transferred, or improperly authorized the withdrawal or transfer of some or all of $60,000 held in trust on behalf of your client, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-56 and 3-60 [now Rules 3-64 and 3-68] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties to your client, and in particular you did one or more of the following:

a)  on approximately December 31, 2014, you transferred $22,000 to the credit of another client (Client Matter No. [number]) to cover a trust shortfall in that other client ledger, without MI’s knowledge or consent and without properly recording the transfer of funds between client trust ledgers;

b)  on approximately January 30, 2015, you withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of $15,000 by way of trust cheque no. [number] payable to [numbered company] BC Ltd., a company in which you had an interest, when neither you nor [numbered company] BC Ltd. were entitled to those funds;

c)  on approximately March 17, 2015, you withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of $39,003.75 by way of trust cheque no. [number] payable to your general account, of which $9,003.75 was withdrawn with respect to your client MI, when you were not entitled to those funds.

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

6.  Between approximately December 2014 and March 2015, in the course of acting for your client MI, you failed to honour a trust condition to hold 25% of the gross purchase price of the property in trust, which had been imposed on you by GM, notary public, in his letter dated December 30, 2014, by withdrawing some or all of the funds from trust, contrary to rule 7.2-11 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

7.  On approximately April 2, 2015, you misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal of a total of $24,003.75 from your pooled trust account by withdrawing or authorizing the withdrawal of $58,761.88 on behalf of your client MI, and a further $450 in payment of your disbursements, when you held only $35,208.13 to the credit of that client, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-55 and 3-56(1.2) [now Rules 3-63 and 3-64(3)] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties to your clients.

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

R Company(File No. [number])

  1. On approximately November 11, 2014, while acting for your client R Company in connection with a real estate matter, you misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal from trust of $22,000 by way of trust cheque no. [number] payable to your brother, SD, when neither you nor your brother were entitled to the funds, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-56 [now Rule 3-64] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties to your client.

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

AT and PT (File No. [number])

  1. On approximately March 17, 2015, while acting for your clients AT and PT in connection with a real estate matter, you did one or both of the following:

a)  misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal of $39,003.75 by way of a trust cheque no. [number] payable to your general account, of which $30,000 was withdrawn with respect to your clients AT and PT, when you were not entitled to those funds, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-56 [now Rule 3-64] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties to your clients;

b)  breached your undertaking to maintain a holdback of $38,850 as set out in your March 16, 2015 fax to C Trust Company of Canada, contrary to rule 7.2-11 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

Conflicts of Interest

  1. Between approximately February 2016 and January 2017, you acted while in a conflict of interest with your clients SK and SK contrary to one or more of rules 3.4-28, 3.4-29 and 3.4-34 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by allowing V Corp., a corporation in which you had an interest, to lend your clients $50,000 and failing to do one or more of the following:

a)  disclose and explain the nature of the conflict of interest to your clients;

b)  require that your clients receive independent legal representation;

c)  obtain your clients’ consent.

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

Trust Shortages in Pooled Trust Account

12.  Between approximately March 2015 and July 2017, in one or more of twenty-five (25) instances set out in Schedule “A” to this citation, you misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal of trust funds from your trust account when there were insufficient funds held to the credit of the client on whose behalf you were making the withdrawal, contrary to Rule 3-56(1.2) [now Rule 3-64(3)] of the Law Society Rules.

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

13.  You failed to immediately make a written report to the Executive Director about one or more of the twenty-five trust shortages set out in Schedule “A” to this citation, contrary to Rule 3-66 [now Rule 3-74] of the Law Society Rules.

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

Breaches of Various Trust Accounting Rules

14.  Between approximately January 1, 2015 and July 25, 2017, you failed to comply with your accounting obligations under Part 3, Division 7 of the Law Society Rules and the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia (the “BC Code”), by doing one or more of the following:

a)  in some or all of seven (7) instances set out in Schedule “C”, withdrawing, or authorizing the withdrawal of trust funds totaling $95,000 for payment of legal fees by electronic transfer instead of trust cheques payable to your general account, contrary to Rule 3-56(3) [now Rule 3-64(6)] of the Law Society Rules;

b)  failing to retain all supporting documentation for your trust account including bank deposit slips relating to some or all of 376 deposits made between January 1, 2017 and July 25, 2017, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-67 and Rule 10-4(1) of the Law Society Rules;

c)  failing to keep file copies of all bills delivered to clients in one or more of the twenty-six (26) instances set out in Schedule “D”, contrary to Rule 3-62 [now Rule 3-71] of the Law Society Rules; and

d)  failing to prepare monthly trust reconciliations of your pooled trust accounts by failing to provide proper reasons for any differences between the total of all unexpended balances held in trust for clients and the total balances held in your pooled trust account, in one or more of the twenty-nine (29) instances set out in Schedule “E”, contrary to Rules 3-60 and 3-65 [now Rules 3-68 and 3-73] of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to section 38 of the Legal Profession Act.

Failure to Supervise/Improper Delegation

15.  Between approximately January 1, 2015 and July 25, 2017, you failed to properly supervise your bookkeeper and office manager XX, or you improperly delegated your trust accounting responsibilities to her, or both, contrary to one or more of rule 6.1-1 and 6.1-3 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, and Rule 3-48 [now Rule 3-54] of the Law Society Rules, including by:

a)  providing XX with pre-signed blank trust cheques;

b)  providing XX with online access to your trust account.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to section 38 of the Legal Profession Act.

Breach of Undertaking to the Law Society

16.  Between approximately February 2019 and September 2019, you breached one or both of your undertaking dated November 2, 2018 to the Law Society of British Columbia and an Order dated July 7, 2017 made by the Chair of the Discipline Committee, contrary to one or both of rules 7.1-1 or 7.2-11 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by doing one or both of the following:

a)  failing to immediately, or ever, provide the accounting records requested by the Law Society in correspondence dated April 8, 2019, April 25, 2019 and May 30, 2019; and

b)  holding in trust more than $1,000 in client funds in connection with client matter [number] for more than seven business days.

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