جریمه انجمن وکلای انتاریو بر علیه یک ایرانی کانادایی – پارا لیگال – بخاطر نقض قوانین حرفه ای The Law Society order against Zohreh Golestani

 جریمه انجمن وکلای انتاریو بر علیه زهره گلستانی – پارا لیگال – بخاطر نقض قوانین حرفه ای The Law Society order against  Zohreh Golestani

آیرکانیوز- آخبار ایرانیان کانادا – irca News- جمعه 29 دسامبر 2017 – 8 دی 96

کمیته بررسی تخلفات انحمن و کلای انتاریو  در تاریخ 6 اکتبر 2017 به دلیل نقض قوانین انجمن در زمینه شغل پارا لیگالی جکم به پرداحت  6000 $ جریمه زهره گلستانی داد . این پرونده در تاریخ 22 سپتامبر 2017 بررسی شده بود . این اولین تحلف زهر ه گلستانی بوده است .

وی هم جنین یک ماه از فعالیت در امور پارالیگال در انتاریو معلق شده است .  وی باید تا سپتامبر 2018 جریمه را پرداخت کند .

Law Society of Upper Canada v. Zohre Golestani, 2017 ONLSTH 199 (CanLII)

Date: 2017-10-06
Docket: 17H-103
Citation: Law Society of Upper Canada v. Golestani, 2017 ONLSTH 199 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/h6k11>, retrieved on 2017-12-29

St

LAW SOCIETY TRIBUNAL

HEARING DIVISION

Citation: Law Society of Upper Canada v. Golestani, 2017 ONLSTH 199

Date: October 6, 2017

Tribunal File No.: 17H-103

BETWEEN:

The Law Society of Upper Canada

Applicant

– and –

Zohreh Golestani

Respondent

Before:                 Peter C. Wardle

Heard:                  September 22, 2017, in Toronto, Ontario

Appearances:      Albert Pelletier, for the Applicant

Respondent, not present or represented

Summary:

GOLESTANI – Professional Misconduct – Findings and Penalty – Based on a Request to Admit, the Paralegal was found to have failed to: co-operate with the Society’s investigation; provide information, contrary to By-Laws 9 and 7.1; and provide the Society with current contact information – The Paralegal was suspended for one-month, starting at the end of her current administrative suspensions and continuing until she has provided a complete response to the Society’s requests – The Paralegal is to pay a fine to the Society of $2,000 and, if she has not met the requirements of the order to respond to the Society’s request by a set date, then she shall pay an additional $2,000 fine to the Society.

 

ORAL REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]           Peter C. Wardle:– This is an application by the Law Society for a determination of whether the respondent, Zohreh Golestani, contravened s. 33 of the Law Society Act, RSO 1990, c. L.8, by engaging in professional misconduct.

[2]           There are three particulars in the Notice of Application, including:

  •        an allegation of failure to co-operate with the Law Society investigation;
  •        an allegation that the Licensee has failed to provide information, contrary to By-Laws 9 and 7.1; and
  •        an allegation that the Licensee has failed to provide the Law Society with current contact information, contrary to s. 4 of By-Law 8, and other information requested by the Law Society, contrary to s. 3 of By-Law 8.

[3]           The Licensee has not been in contact with the Law Society since October 2015. I am satisfied that the Notice of Application in this matter, together with the Information Sheet and a Request to Admit, were properly served on the Licensee on or around August 1, 2017, and that she has not responded. She has not had any communication with Law Society counsel and did not appear today. Accordingly, I am satisfied that I can proceed in her absence.

[4]           The evidence filed in this application is the Request to Admit, to which the Licensee has not responded. It indicates that prior to July 2015, the Licensee’s status as a licensed paralegal with the Law Society was as a sole practitioner.

[5]           On July 1, 2015, her status changed to “1I (not in Ontario).” This gave rise to the Law Society’s Complaints Services Department requesting information on the disposition of the Licensee’s practice and requesting that she complete a Status Change Questionnaire, which was sent to her on or about July 20, 2015. That letter was returned with a notation in the envelope stating ‘moved/unknown.’ Complaints Services followed up with the Licensee by leaving voicemail messages and eventually with an e-mail dated October 19, 2015.

[6]           On October 24, 2015, the Licensee responded by e-mail indicating a number of things, including that she had travelled “back home” for family reasons and had not returned to Canada since July 1, 2015. She also indicated that she had been unable to pay Law Society fees due to her recent financial situation, and that she wanted to withdraw or cancel her paralegal licence. She also indicated that she had returned all client files prior to leaving the country, had not taken on any new files since leaving the country, and had “no valuable clients’ property in her possession.”

[7]           Complaints Services responded to this e-mail on October 27, 2015, indicating that the Licensee still had to complete and return a copy of the Status Change Questionnaire, and that if she operated a trust account, the Law Society requested copies of her bank statements, showing either that this account had been closed or an explanation as to why it had not been closed. There was no response received to this communication, and in fact, there has been no subsequent communication from the Licensee to date. Effective December 22, 2015, the Licensee’s status changed to suspended for non-payment of annual fees, and she remains administratively suspended to this date.

[8]           Approximately one year after the exchange of e-mails in October 2015, Complaints Services sent additional e-mails to the Licensee (in October and November 2016) repeating the prior request for information. To date, the Licensee has not returned the completed Status Change Questionnaire. In addition, the Licensee has not provided the information requested by Complaints Services in its 2015 and 2016 letters, e-mails, and voicemails.

[9]           In December 2016, a Law Society investigation was instructed into the allegations that eventually made their way into the Notice of Application.

[10]        On February 13, 2017, an Intake Resolution Officer at the Law Society sent a letter to the Licensee, notifying her of the investigation and requiring her to provide written representations and copies of all documents addressing all of the regulatory issues identified for investigation, and copies of bank statements showing that her trust accounts were at zero balance, by March 3, 2017. The letter also provided information and a link to the Law Society’s website and invited the Licensee to advise whether she needed Law Society communications to be made in an alternate format. This letter was returned to the Law Society undelivered later in February 2017.

[11]        Eventually, on February 21, 2017, the same Law Society representative sent an e-mail to the Licensee enclosing a copy of the prior letter and repeating the March 3, 2017 deadline for the Licensee to provide her response and requested material. This e-mail was not responded to but does not appear to have bounced back.

[12]        Following these attempts to contact the Licensee, the Law Society representative attempted to contact the Licensee by phone, but was unsuccessful. Subsequent attempts were made to locate her by searching a variety of sources, including the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario’s database, but without success. There were follow-up letters sent to the Licensee on March 9, 2017, and a further attempt to contact her by phone on March 21, 2017, on which date a further letter was sent to her, enclosing copies of all the prior correspondence, reminding her of her obligations pursuant to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct, and repeating the requirements that she respond to the Law Society’s requests. This particular letter was sent by registered mail, regular mail, and by e-mail.

[13]        The letters were returned to the Law Society, and a copy that was sent by e‑mail was not responded to. Eventually, following further letters on May 17 and May 19, 2017, this application was commenced. To date, the Licensee has not provided the Law Society with the required and requested information documents.

[14]        On the basis of this evidence, I am satisfied that the particulars set out in the Notice of Application have been made out and, as a result, I find that the respondent has engaged in professional misconduct as alleged.

[15]        With respect to penalty, this is another one of those cases where the Tribunal has what could be described as a typical or standard penalty. The respondent has no prior discipline history.

[16]        The Law Society is requesting a one-month suspension commencing at the conclusion of her current administrative suspensions and continuing indefinitely until, to the satisfaction of the Executive Director, Professional Regulation, she has provided a complete response to the Law Society’s requests. In addition, the Law Society seeks that the respondent pay a fine to the Law Society in the amount of $2,000 on or before December 22, 2017, and that if she has not met the requirements of the order with respect to responding to the Law Society’s request by October 22, 2017, then she shall pay an additional fine to the Law Society in the amount of $2,000 on or before December 22, 2017.

[17]        I am satisfied that these terms are reasonable in the circumstances and are consistent with the Tribunal’s prior jurisprudence in connection with this type of misconduct. As a result, I have signed the draft order which provides for these terms.

[18]        With respect to costs, discipline counsel has provided me with a Bill of Costs, indicating fees of $12,122.50 based on approximately 37 hours of work. However, he was quite candid in advising me that he is new to the Law Society, and that there was probably a significant amount of work reflected in the dockets that may not have been necessary if he had been more experienced. As a result, he sought fees of approximately half the amount reflected in the Bill of Costs, or $6,000, which I am satisfied is reasonable in the circumstances.

[19]        As a result, I have ordered that the respondent pay costs in that amount to the Law Society on or before September 22, 2018, with interest to accrue on any unpaid part of those costs following that date, at a rate of 2% per year.

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