Solicitor struck off for practising while suspended

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10 February 2014

SRA: solicitor showed serious disregard for the interests of the public

A Birmingham solicitor has been struck off for practising while suspended, including appearing in court.

Peter Chahal was removed from the roll of solicitors by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal last week 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 the 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.

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However, last week’s tribunal heard that in June 2012, he attended Sandwell Magistrates’ Court and represented a client at a taxi licence appeal preliminary hearing. Further, 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.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said 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.”

Mr Chahal was also ordered to pay £4,500 costs. He has 21 days from the publication of the judgment to appeal.

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