Judge jailed for role in £1.8m legal aid fraud

Avatar photo

By Rhys Duncan on


Worked with group of ‘corrupt legal professionals’

A barrister and part-time immigration tribunal judge has been handed a three-year jail sentence for his part in a £1.8 million legal aid fraud.

Rasib Ghaffar, 54, conspired with legal clerk Gazi Khan, solicitor advocate Azar Khan, and solicitor Joseph Kyeremeh to defraud the taxpayer through submitting false legal aid claims, according to a statement released by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The offences relate back to a string of cases in 2011 and 2012 where the gang submitted false defendants’ costs orders, seeking to claim inflated legal costs back through legal aid.

Ghaffar’s case centred on four claims arising from separate defendants who were acquitted. The claims totalled £1,856,584, of which £469,477 (25%) was paid out.

Of this, Ghaffar was responsible for a fee note in his name for £184,000, relating to over 350 hours of purported work. The evidence, however, showed that he had only been instructed seven days before the conclusion of the case.

Gazi Khan, described by a CPS statement as “the leader in this criminal operation” has also been convicted of fraud offences relating to fraudulent defence cost orders.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

In one of the cases the firm City Law Solicitors, of which Azar Khan was the principle partner, started work on a case around 10 weeks before its conclusion. Despite this short time frame the firm claimed to have carried out 500 hours of work, costing over £162,000.

The real giveaway? The firm backdated the work it said it had done to include “a long period when it was not instructed to represent any defendant”, resulting in a £93,000 payout through legal aid.

Kyeremeh, another partner in the same firm, claimed for 650 hours work at a value of over £176,000, with £60,000 coming from public funds.

Malcolm McHaffie of the CPS commented: “These convicted defendants defrauded the Legal Aid Agency for their own purposes. They fraudulently took advantage of a statutory scheme which was designed to help acquitted defendants with their genuinely incurred legal costs.”

“The Metropolitan Police and the CPS worked closely together to bring these corrupt legal professionals to justice and are now facing the consequences of their wrongdoing,” McHaffie said.

“The CPS will now commence confiscation proceedings in order to reclaim the defendants’ proceeds derived from the fraud,” he added.

Ghaffar was jailed for three years, Gazi Khan received a five-year sentence, and Azar Khan was sentenced to two years, suspended for two years. Kyeremeh was also given a two-year suspended sentence.”


Not at DWF, thankfully

Quite rightly so – how ignorant would you have to be to think you could get away with this?

Ali t

Why not picked up at time?! How much recovered


They will get the whole amount back via confiscation order


There is a lot more scam going on everywhere with legal aid. The whole system is too easy for solicitors and barristors to claim what ever they like.


It really isn’t John. Law firms are going bust because of how sh1t the legal aid payments are

US Lawyer

Perhaps the firms going bust are the ones doing things honestly and not gaming the system.


Not in the family division, matey.

Legal aid practitioner

It’s not quite as easy as you say, everything gets checked by a costs draftsman and there is a certain ‘reasonable’ amount of work you can justify before it is simply taken off the bill.

Advocacy is billed by however long you spend in court and type of hearing.

The legal aid rates are also so bad that most legal aid firms run at a loss. In family law it’s £5.94 per unit. Advocacy pays a bit better.

H Timpson

I hope they are banned sine dei from the legal profession to serve as a warning to others.


They would definitely be banned anyway through the solicitors regulatory body, for misconduct in the profession

Associate at proper big firm

If they are not struck off etc it shows how much of a joke the regulatory authorities are…

Join the conversation

Related Stories