News release

Solicitor struck off for practising when suspended

A Birmingham solicitor has been struck off for practising while suspended in a prosecution brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Peter Chahal, from Handsworth, was removed from the Roll of Solicitors by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on Monday (3 February) after it found that he had twice acted on behalf of clients despite being suspended. Two similar allegations were found not proved by the tribunal.

Mr Chahal had originally been suspended by the tribunal for six months from 19 April, 2012 for, among other charges, failing to look after a client's matter properly. As part of this punishment, the tribunal also ordered that he may not practise as a sole practitioner, manager, partner of a solicitors firm, and ordered Mr Chahal to pay £20,000 costs.

At the hearing on 3 February, however, the tribunal heard that in June 2012, he attended Sandwell Magistrates’ Court and represented a Mr MS B at a taxi licence appeal preliminary hearing, and that in September 2012, he signed a Land Registry document, describing the capacity in which he did so as that of a solicitor of the Supreme Court and partner. Mr Chahal did not attend the hearing and did not provide any evidence in mitigation.

The tribunal said it strongly disapproved of a solicitor who flouted the terms of a previous order made against him. In order to protect the public and maintain the trust the public places in him and those who provide legal services, there was no option but to strike Mr Chahal off the Roll.

Gordon Ramsay, SRA Director of Legal and Enforcement, said: "Mr Chahal represented a member of the public when he knew he was not authorised to do. This shows a serious disregard for the interests of the public. We are very satisfied with the tribunal's decision."

As well as being struck off, Mr Chahal was ordered to pay £4,500 costs. He has 21 days from the publication of the judgement to appeal.

Details of the tribunal's suspension of Mr Chahal from April 2012 can be found at http://www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk/

 
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