Claimed to have authorisation
A junior solicitor has been removed from the profession after it emerged she had faked her colleague’s signature on important legal documents during her time as a trainee.
Henna Zeb Khan was just months away from qualifying with Bradford outfit Stachiw Bashir Green when she signed documents, including a land registry form and two certificates of title, using her co-worker’s name. The documents were then sent to a bank and HM Land Registry.
She qualified in February 2019 but was dismissed by the firm in June when the misconduct came to light.
Khan told the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) she had been authorised by the more experienced colleague, a licensed conveyancer, to use her signature on the paperwork.
She claimed to have “general authority” to do so because her colleague had said “to inform her of the documents so that she was aware of the position”.
But the tribunal rejected this, finding that the young lawyer had not been authorised, expressly or implicitly, to sign the docs on behalf of her colleague.
It went on to describe Khan’s colleague as a “credible witness” and noted the respondent had often “deflected difficult questions rather than giving clear answers”.
The tribunal said it was in “no doubt that [Khan] had a successful career ahead of her” but that her actions were dishonest and “demonstrated a clear lack of integrity”.
The SDT said the motivation behind the misconduct was unclear, “but that she had appeared to want to take a short-cut and possibly wanted to prove herself”.
Khan was struck off and ordered to pay costs of £15,700.