Trainee solicitor who charged clients for legal advice handed 18-month suspended jail term

Training contract disaster

A trainee solicitor has been handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence after providing illegal immigration advice to clients.

Babar Khan of Sydenham, south east London, introduced himself as a solicitor to three clients and submitted immigration applications on their behalf. Employed as a trainee at the firm but operating through his own company called Prime Legal Solicitors, Khan charged fees for his services when not qualified to do so.

His misconduct came to light when a complaint was lodged with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), a government body that regulates immigration advisers.

According to an announcement on the OISC website, Khan appeared at Southwark Crown Court last week and was handed an 18-month custodial sentence (suspended for two years). He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, was disqualified from holding any company directorship for eight years, and was told to cough up £500 in prosecution costs.

Sentencing, Judge Korner QC said Khan had taken advantage of his clients’ desperation by “deliberately” holding himself out to be a solicitor. She said:

Evidence heard in this case shows that you had no qualification whatsoever during the period of your activities, which goes back to 2012. The fact that your company was named Prime Legal Solicitors demonstrates that you intended to deceive people as you deliberately held yourself out to be a solicitor… You took advantage of the desperation and vulnerability of these applicants. This is a seriously dishonest offence that crosses the custody threshold. There are no mitigating factors other than your hitherto good character.

Due to Khan’s trainee status the SRA has been unable to reveal which firm he worked at during the time of the offence. This is because unlike qualified solicitors, trainees’ personal information is subject to the Data Protection Act. However a spokesperson did tell Legal Cheek this:

We are aware of the issue, we have excellent relations with government departments such as OISC, who kept us informed of their work. We will now gather all available information before deciding on an appropriate action.

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45 Comments

Anonymous

Corporate team cannot maintain its size and does not get big deals. Stagnant banking team. Real Estate is alright now but hardly the centre piece of a firm with aspirations the size senior management have. A few strong teams like Energy and Pensions but the overall picture is that the whole thing barely sat together pre-merger and now the water is even more muddy. That is just the UK story, try to fit together the international jigsaw and you realise what a hapless existence it all is.

(4)(0)
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Anonymous

Partners bring in the cash that pays HR their salary. Also, a partner leaving (or being made to) is an immediate reduction in the partners’ capital and the firms financial stability (firms don’t carry enough £). Perhaps most importantly, 1 partner being jailed for something unethical calls into question the ethics and reputation of the entire firm and law is a business that lives and dies by the reputation of the providers. If you’re a partner at a law firm and the choice before you is to risk millions in fees which directly hits you in the wallet and avoiding such a loss, what would you do?

(1)(1)
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Anonymous

up *to*£500 in prosecution costs

Seriously, this wasn’t a very long article to write or proof-read. I’d expect that Connelly could have done it right first time.

(3)(5)
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Anonymous

Totally agree. This isn’t Big Brother or Love Island – it should not have been put to a public vote. What next, we vote for details of the budget next year on Facebook?! This is such nonsense.

(5)(3)
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Pantman

Well, although you seem to be invoking Joseph Stalin, the simple fact is that most people don’t understand the UK’s relationship with the EU – and the politicians on both sides did a very poor job of illuminating this issues.

I’ve always thought that it would be, for practical purposes, impossible for the UK to leave the EU – or at least fully disengage from the EU. The current government efforts seem to be coming to the same conclusion.

We’re going to have exactly the same benefits as if we were in the EU, but we’re not going to be subject to the CJEU!?

Oh, actually what we’re going to do is take note of the CJEU decisions, and have some sort of arbitration scheme between the UK and the EU, which for practical purposes means that we will be subject to the decisions of the CJEU.

The problem here is that the government has not dealt with the reality of being a member state, and changed our laws and practises to reflect that fact. They also have not engaged with the EU to try to stop some of the abuses under the hosted worker directive (and they haven’t given extra powers to, nor encouraged local government, to tackle the housing issues that have resulted from dormitories for such workers).

(1)(1)
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Anonymous

Why would you want to put our incompetent government in control over the far superior European regimes? It is like a child insisting on making cakes all by itself, all you’ll end up is with egg and flour everywhere.

(2)(4)
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Anonymous

You mean all those wonderful continental regimes that are less than a century old, which endured fascism,
Communism,
Dictatorship or conquest, all within living memory, versus our own which has stood for centuries…?

(2)(1)
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Anonymous

Oh, the one that went out and conquered the world, and still hasn’t gotten over it?

(1)(0)
Anonymous

“Sentencing, Judge Korner QC said Khan had taken advantage of his clients’ desperation by “deliberately” holding himself out to be a solicitor. She said:

Evidence heard in this case shows that you had no qualification whatsoever during the period of your activities…”

How did he become a trainee solicitor without doing an LLB/GDL plus LPC?

(6)(0)
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Anonymous

Loads of people slip the net. There is one 2PQE associate I know at a MC firm who is only 22 – he started his TC at 18 lol. Trust me – if you look old enough, you have the right contacts and you aren’t afraid to break rules then you can skip procedural steps such as the LPC.

(1)(14)
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Anonymous

Hah, you seem like the sort of drone-like non-questioning believer who would follow travel guide book directions straight off a cliff. You simpleton, think outside the box. People don’t play by the rules and nice guys finish last.

(1)(4)
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Optimus Prime Legal Personages Lbb

I am most righteous and truthful lawyer who can give most top quality legal help to you and your family.

Are you regretting people you have seen before? A visit with Babar will help.

Find me behind Rose and Crown Pubic House, Sydenham High Street between 1-3am every Tuesday and Thursday.

Accepting cash payment only.

You never regret!

You never lose!

(7)(0)
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Anonymous

“Due to Khan’s trainee status the SRA has been unable to reveal which firm he worked at during the time of the offence. This is because unlike qualified solicitors, trainees’ personal information is subject to the Data Protection Act.”

If the SRA said that to Legal Cheek, it shows its abject lack of understanding of the DPA. The DPA applies to all individuals, including both qualified solicitors and trainee solicitors.

There is no call/excuse for secrecy about the firm at which he was a trainee, because his Linkedin profile names the two firms with which he has been associated. It’s also a matter of public record (through Companies House) that (despite not being qualified as a solicitor) Khan is the company secretary of Cardinal Solicitors Ltd.

If (as the judge commented) he held himself out as a solicitor, why wasn’t he prosecuted for an offence under the Solicitors Act 1974?

(6)(0)
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Anonymous

Agree re DPA.

But no point in prosecuting under Sols Act if the offence was ‘pretending’, as highest penalty is only a level 4 fine. (‘Acting’ (s.20) is indictable and carries up to 2 years plus fine.)

(4)(0)
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Anonymous

Let’s hope the SRA is aware that Khan owns 99 of the 100 issued shares in Cardinal Solicitors Ltd, which was incorporated as recently as June 2016.

(0)(0)
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Ram Rahim Singh

Yes Indeedy. If you got ticky whackeried by Prime Legal Solicitors, try Godman Guru Solicitors, above Post Office on Southall High St.
9-6 every day.

(1)(0)
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