Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Hearing Panel Decision

Nida Chaudhry

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Called to the bar: July 25, 2011

Written materials: July 10, 2018

Panel: Elizabeth Rowbotham, chair; David Layton, QC; and Linda Michaluk

Decision issued: November 5, 2018 (2018 LSBC 31)

Counsel: Alison Kirby for the Law Society, Nida Chaudhry on her own behalf

AGREED FACTS

Between July 2012 and February 2014, Nida Chaudhry misappropriated or improperly withdrew client trust funds by making 13 withdrawals from her trust account, contrary to Law Society rules.

On three occasions in 2013 and 2014, Chaudhry withdrew trust funds in purported payment of fees without first preparing a bill and immediately delivering the bill to her clients.

On one or more of 62 instances between 2012 and 2014, Chaudhry withdrew trust funds when there were insufficient funds held to the credit of the client on whose behalf the withdrawal was made.

Chaudhry failed to honour a trust condition imposed on her by opposing counsel on a real estate file.

Chaudhry affixed her electronic signature to a Form B mortgage filed with the Land Title Office when she did not have a copy of the mortgage in her possession.

Chaudhry failed to comply with Law Society rules on more than 200 occasions between 2012 and 2014 by withdrawing funds from her trust account by way of one of the following methods that are not permitted: a bank draft, a cheque not marked “trust,” electronic transfer without supporting documentation or, in payment of her fees, without making the withdrawal by cheque to her general account.

Between 2012 and 2014 Chaudhry failed to maintain her accounting records in accordance with Law Society Rules.

ADMISSION AND DETERMINATION

Chaudhry conditionally admitted to the violations and agreed that they constitute professional misconduct, and consented to disbarment as the proposed appropriate disciplinary action.

The panel considered that the most serious misconduct was Chaudhry’s intentional misappropriation of $6,154.97 in client funds and that, except in extraordinary circumstances, the appropriate disciplinary action for the intentional misappropriation of client funds is disbarment. The panel found that the other instances of professional misconduct are also serious.

The panel considered as mitigating circumstances that no evidence suggested any client lost money as a result of Chaudhry’s misconduct, that Chaudhry eliminated all of her trust shortages by means of a payment in personal funds, and that Chaudhry was remorseful.

The panel approved Chaudhry’s conditional admission of professional misconduct and concluded that disbarment falls within the range of fair and reasonable disciplinary outcomes in the circumstances of this case.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The panel ordered that Chaudhry:

  • be disbarred; and
  • pay costs of $700.

2018 LSBC 31 Decision of the Hearing Panel