Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Agreed Statement of Facts

Daniel Kar-Yan Kwong

Called to the Bar: January 1, 2013

Ceased membership: February 27, 2017

Agreed statement of facts: February 8, 2018

FACTS

In December 2013, a Swiss couple retained Daniel Kar-Yan Kwong to assist them in immigrating to Canada. They had bought a wilderness lodge in BC and planned to move to BC to operate it as a business. Between May 2014 and spring 2015 Kwong repeatedly said or implied to his clients that he had filed applications to Citizenship and Immigration Canada when he had not.

In February 2014, another party retained Kwong’ s firm. Kwong submitted a successful application under the BC Provincial Nominee Program, then between June and November 2014 repeatedly told the client he had submitted a permanent residence application when he had not, nor did he tell him that his certificate of nomination had expired. In December Kwong submitted a permanent residence application under a new Express Entry program without telling the client, and told the client he had submitted an application for an extended work permit when he had not.

In September 2013, a permanent resident retained Kwong to assist him in sponsoring his wife and son in applications for permanent residence. Kwong repeatedly told the client he had filed permanent residence applications when he had not. Because Kwong misrepresented to the client that the applications had been submitted, he believed his wife was eligible to apply for MSP coverage, but she was not. As a result, when she gave birth in BC, the client and his wife had to pay for the hospital services.

In April 2015 Kwong was retained by a party to file an application for the BC Provincial Nominee Program, with a view to later applying for permanent residence. Kwong did not file the application. The program was suspended, then was relaunched with requirements that the client did not meet. Kwong told or implied to the client that the application had been sent when it had not. Kwong sent a fabricated email to the client, which he represented was confirmation of the receipt of the filed application.

In June 2013 Kwong was retained to assist a party in obtaining a work permit. The retainer agreement provided for payments in installments upon completion of certain phases of the work. Kwong issued accounts and transferred funds from trust to satisfy the accounts, knowing that the related milestones had not been met. Kwong repeatedly told the client that applications had been submitted when they had not. When a subsequently filed application was rejected, Kwong failed to tell the client and continued to represent that his application was still under consideration.

In December 2014 a couple retained Kwong with regard to the man sponsoring his wife as a permanent resident of Canada. As provided for in the retainer, Kwong issued an account shortly after starting work on the file, and funds to satisfy the account were transferred from the retainer held in trust, but Kwong never sent a copy of this account to the clients. In March 2015 Kwong issued an invoice, as provided for in the retainer “ just prior to submission of the application.” Between May 2015 and March 2016, Kwong repeatedly represented that he had filed the application when he had not. In March 2016, Kwong and his firm advised the husband that Kwong had failed to file the application.

ADMISSION AND DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Kwong admitted that he:

  • in six instances, made misrepresentations to a client or clients regarding the status of an application by making statements that he knew or ought to have known were false or by failing to disclose information;
  • in six instances, failed to provide a client or clients with the quality of service that is expected of a competent lawyer in a similar situation;
  • in four instances, withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of trust funds in payment of fees without first delivering a bill to a client or clients;
  • in two instances, falsified documents and provided them to a client or clients in order to misrepresent that he had submitted the application;
  • acted without his client’ s instructions; and
  • improperly withdrew client trust funds held on behalf of a client or clients to satisfy his account, purportedly to pay fees or disbursements, when he was not entitled to the funds.

In resolving the citation, the Law Society required Kwong to acknowledge that he has ceased to be a member of the Law Society in the face of disciplinary proceedings and to provide an undertaking:

  • not to engage in the practice of law with or without the expectation of a fee, gain or reward, whether direct or indirect, until such time as he may again become a member in good standing of the Law Society;
  • not to apply for readmission to the Law Society of British Columbia or elsewhere within Canada prior to April 6, 2020;
  • not to apply for membership in any other law society (or like governing body regulating the practice of law) prior to April 6, 2020 without first advising in writing the Law Society of British Columbia; and
  • not to permit his name to appear on the letterhead of, or work in any capacity whatsoever, for any lawyer or law firm in British Columbia, without obtaining the prior written consent of the Discipline Committee of the Law Society unless he again becomes a member in good standing (subject to the express consent of the Discipline Committee to work in the capacity as a “ workers’ advisor” for the Ministry of Labour).

Agreed Statement of Facts