Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Review Board

Amarjit Singh Dhindsa

Abbotsford, BC

Called to the bar: June 8, 2001

Review date: March 12, 2020

Review board: Dean Lawton, QC, Chair, Nan Bennett, Bruce LeRose, QC, Steven McKoen, QC and Shannon Salter

Decision issued: June 18, 2020 (2020 LSBC 49)

Counsel: Alison Kirby for the Law Society; Gerald Cuttler, QC for Amarjit Sing Dhindsa

BACKGROUND

A hearing panel concluded that Amarjit Singh Dhindsa committed professional misconduct by acting in a conflict of interest, breaching undertakings and failing to honour a trust condition relating to his representation of a developer with respect to its purchase and sale of a development property (2019 LSBC 05). A decision on disciplinary action was issued, and the penalty included a suspension of seven weeks (2019 LSBC 36).

Dhindsa sought a review of the hearing panel’ s finding of professional misconduct.

DECISION OF THE REVIEW BOARD

The review board considered whether the hearing panel erred by failing to consider certain prior disciplinary decisions and their passages related to the standard of proof for professional misconduct, whether the panel erred in its findings relating to the allegations regarding his conduct, and whether the panel’ s imposition of a seven-week suspension was appropriate.

The review board found the hearing panel’ s decision not to cite a particular section of a relevant case is not, by itself, a reason to overturn a decision. The review panel examined the passage Dhindsa put forth as the standard of proof that should have been used and concluded the approach is circular and unhelpful in this case.

The review board determined the hearing panel was correct in its application of the rules, findings of professional misconduct, and conclusion that the nature, gravity and consequences of his conduct and his professional conduct record were aggravating factors in determining the sanction.

The review board found the hearing panel was correct in imposing a seven-week suspension.

2020 LSBC 49 Decision of the Review Board