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Auckland lawyer suspended for three months

Following is a press release from the New Zealand Law Society on March 20, 2014:

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has suspended Auckland lawyer Mohammed Faiyam Khan from legal practice for a period of three months commencing March 25, 2014.

The tribunal has also censured Mr Khan, ordered him to pay compensation of $5000 and costs, and ordered that he make his practice available for inspection at such times and by such people as nominated by the New Zealand Law Society for a period of 12 months.

Mr Khan admitted a charge of negligence or incompetence in his professional capacity of such a degree as to reflect on his fitness to practise or as to tend to bring the profession into disrepute.

He breached the terms of a solicitor’s certificate when he acted for a lender when instructed to secure a mortgage and term loan agreement for a property. Mr Khan also failed to obtain the signature of the guarantor or covenantor despite certifying that the covenantor had executed the agreement.

The tribunal found that Mr Khan’s conduct amounted to the negligence charge that he admitted, but did not amount to misconduct in his professional capacity.

New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore said that New Zealand lawyers are required to maintain very high standards in every transaction they carry out.

“The need for care and accuracy is constant and anyone who hires a lawyer is entitled to expect their lawyer will perform to those standards.”

Mr Khan issued the following statement to Indian Newslink on March 27, 2014

Without prejudice

In 2008 an incident occurred which has recently come before the Disciplinary Tribunal, causing my suspension from legal practise for three months.

The background to this matter is that I had employed a staff member from the United Kingdom, whom I employed after making all necessary background and pre-employment checks. Unfortunately, I was led to believe that he was a professional of good character.

As a result of his deliberate actions and breach of trust, the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Law Society have ordered that the employee is banned forever from working for any legal practice.

The same employee was handling the matter on which I signed a solicitor’s certificate which subsequently turned out to be incorrect. Accordingly, when the matter was brought to my attention, I took full responsibility for the solicitors certificate despite being unaware as to the exact circumstances under which it was signed. As put by the Disciplinary tribunal, I was very badly let down by this employee.

My advice to other legal practitioners and professionals is to always err on the side of caution and not to take documents at face value.

I have received numerous calls and messages of support from legal practitioners and other members of our community and am extremely humbled by the support I have received.

Both branches of Khan & Associates shall continue to provide legal services to the community with the other partners and extremely professional and capable legal staff.

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