Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of Review Board

Amarjit Singh Dhindsa

Abbotsford, BC

Called to the bar: June 8, 2001

Voluntarily withdrew from membership: May 27, 2021

Review date: March 4, 2021

Review board: Elizabeth J. Rowbotham (Chair), Gavin Hume, QC, Jacqueline McQueen, QC, Ruth Wittenberg and William R. Younie, QC

Decision issued: August 3, 2021 (2021 LSBC 33)

Counsel: Ilana Teicher for the Law Society; Duncan K. Magnus for Amarjit Singh Dhindsa

BACKGROUND

A hearing panel determined that Amarjit Singh Dhindsa had disclosed his Juricert password to two members of his law firm staff and, for a period of over three years, permitted his staff to affix his electronic signature to documents filed with the land title office. The panel determined that such conduct constituted professional misconduct (2019 LSBC 11). After a hearing on disciplinary action the panel determined that the appropriate discipline was a four-month suspension (2020 LSBC 13). Dhindsa filed a notice of review seeking a dismissal of the citation in its entirety or, in the alternative, that a fine or shorter suspension be substituted for the disciplinary action.

DECISION OF THE REVIEW BOARD

The review board considered Dhindsa’ s submissions, which claimed that the hearing panel displayed a reasonable apprehension of bias towards him and made errors in its treatment of evidence and procedural rulings.

The review board determined the panel was correct in refusing to admit an affidavit sworn by a conveyancer employed by Dhindsa who could not attend the hearing. It also determined the panel did not err when it stated that no other employees were called to verify Dhindsa’ s practice of remotely logging in to Juricert documents – the panel was simply stating the evidence that was before it.

The review board also dismissed Dhindsa’ s position that the panel failed to consider or misapprehended evidence. The panel considered all submissions at the hearing; it is not required that the panel’ s reasons discuss all of the evidence or all submissions.

The review board concluded that Dhindsa was not prejudiced by the panel permitting the Law Society to call a rebuttal witness and the panel did not place undue reliance on the personal demeanour of any particular witness. The review board also reviewed the panel’ s comments at the hearing and determined that it did not demonstrate a reasonable apprehension of bias.

In considering the disciplinary action imposed by the panel, the review board noted the seriousness of the misconduct, Dhindsa’ s significant professional conduct record and the fact that this was the first instance where the sharing of a Juricert password was dealt with by citation. The review board reduced the suspension imposed by the panel by half and ordered that Dhindsa be suspended for two months.

2021 LSBC 33 Decision of the Review Board