What is the consequence of allowing a revoked individual to work on a case?

Ontario, Canada


The following excerpt is from Law Society of Ontario v. Mackay, 2022 ONLSTH 38 (CanLII):

The other cases we were referred to were not factually similar. Law Society of Ontario v. Collins[4] was a case where the respondent lawyer allowed a revoked lawyer to assist him in working on a case, but neither the respondent nor the revoked individual ever held the revoked person out as eligible to practise law. The sole offence was the lawyer’s association with the revoked person. The respondent lawyer was deeply remorseful, and this was a first offence after many years of legal practice. In that case the parties agreed to a reprimand and the panel found that this was an acceptable penalty.

In Law Society of Upper Canada v. Siddiqi,[5] a reprimand was also accepted as the appropriate penalty where the respondent lawyer was the victim of a very experienced fraudster. The respondent was unaware that the individual with whom he agreed to practice law was not a licensed lawyer. Once he became aware of the facts, the respondent acted professionally and appropriately. The respondent acknowledged that he had failed to assume complete professional responsibility for his practice, and thereby failed to prevent the unauthorized practice of law or facilitated the unauthorized practice of law, or both.

By contrast, in Law Society of Upper Canada v. Khan,[6] the lawyer was found to have allowed, encouraged, and abetted the unauthorized practice of law, among other serious counts of misconduct, including practising while he himself was administratively suspended. He was suspended for 12 months, with two months attributable to the “failing to prevent unauthorized practice” count.

In Law Society of Upper Canada v. Seif,[7] the lawyer hired an unlicensed individual who had previously been criminally convicted of 18 offences for dishonesty and was subsequently criminally convicted in respect of certain dealings with the respondent and his practice. The other category of alleged misconduct related to the respondent’s own failures to serve his clients and to comply with his regulatory obligations relating to books and records.

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