Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the President on an Application to Reconstitute Hearing Panel


Sumandip Singh

Called to the bar: December 4, 2013

Written materials: May 24 and June 2, 2020

Decision issued: June 5, 2020 (2020 LSBC 25)

Counsel: Mandana Namazi for the Law Society; Joven Narwal for Sumandip Singh

BACKGROUND

Sumandip Singh applied to the president of the Law Society to adjourn the hearing, to reconstitute the panel to include a current practising Bencher and to hold the hearing in person.

As the jurisdiction to adjourn or to determine the procedure before the hearing panel is under the discretion of the hearing panel, the president only made a decision with respect to reconstituting the hearing panel. The hearing panel was originally constituted by the president to include former Bencher Jeff Campbell, QC, who has since been appointed a judge of the Provincial Court of BC. Singh made an application to add a sitting Bencher to the panel. He asserted that practising lawyers are better suited to assess current practice standards and he considered assessment by one’ s peers as an objective of the Law Society.

DECISION ON APPLICATION

The president dismissed the application and ordered the hearing continue with the remaining two panel members. The president referred to the Law Society Rules, which say a panel is to be chaired “ by a lawyer” and include a “ Bencher” or a “ Life Bencher.” One of the remaining panel members is both a practising lawyer and a Life Bencher, which satisfies the Rules.

The president disagreed with Singh’ s objection to the composition of the panel, which suggested a public member of the tribunal ought not to have similar or equal say with a Bencher or lawyer member of the panel. The president reaffirmed the objective of the Law Society to ensure a public voice in tribunal decisions.

2020 LSBC 25 Decision on Application to Reconstitute Hearing Panel