Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Facts and Determination


Sumandip Singh

Surrey, BC

Discipline hearing: August 27, 2019

Panel: Jeff Campbell, QC (chair); Ralston Alexander, QC; Paul Ruffell

Decision issued: January 8, 2020 (2020 LSBC 01)

Counsel: Mandana Namazi and Ilana Teicher for the Law Society; Joven Bahar Narwal and J. Salamati, articled student, for Sumandip Singh

FACTS

Sumandip Singh failed to tell clients or his staff that former lawyer Gerhard Albertus Pyper was not authorized to practise law and facilitated Pyper's unauthorized practice of law. Pyper attended at Singh's law firm as often as two to three times a week and used Singh's legal assistant to act as a liaison with Pyper's " clients." When Pyper's clients called Singh's firm they were transferred to Pyper. Pyper prepared legal documents using Singh's firm's letterhead.

Singh also engaged in unjustified attacks against other counsel, the judiciary and opposing parties. In a notice of application, he alleged that WorkSafeBC or its legal counsel was motivated by discrimination, had manufactured false evidence, had engaged in illegal and unethical conduct, and had published false allegations in the media. Singh also filed affidavits to be used in litigation asserting that the courts are biased.

When one client learned that Pyper was unauthorized to practise law, she subsequently understood that Singh would assist her with her legal matter. Singh allowed Pyper to continue working on the matter. Singh attended a court hearing on behalf of the client but did not personally meet with the client, properly prepare for the hearing, or inform the client of the outcome of the court hearing. Singh did not provide competent legal services to the client.

In the course of a Law Society investigation, Singh misled the Law Society by making numerous false statements, including that he never discussed client matters with Pyper, that Pyper was only in Singh's personal office on one occasion, and that Singh did not know that Pyper remained involved in client matters.

DETERMINATION

The array of Singh’ s misconduct was substantial and enduring, and constitutes a marked departure from the behaviour that is expected from lawyers. All of the allegations in the citation (with the exception of client matters specified in section 1(b)) have been proven, and Singh has committed professional misconduct.

2020 LSBC 01 Decision on Facts and Determination