Mismanaged real estate deals land B.C. lawyer two-month suspension

Surrey lawyer Serf Grewal must be supervised in handling any future trust accounts, a BC Law Society panel has ruled.

Mismanaged trust accounts have landed a ban on residential real estate conveyancing for a B.C. lawyer.

A Law Society of BC tribunal panel has suspended Surrey lawyer Serf Grewal after determining he unintentionally misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars of trust funds.

Grewal was found to have committed several breaches of law society rules, largely related to real estate. As such he’s also been barred from future residential real estate conveyancing.

“The proven misconduct,” stated the society, “includes unintentional misappropriation of slightly over $42,000 of client trust funds, due to trust shortages and accounting errors, mishandling of a further $3,770 of client trust funds which resulted in a trust shortage that he did not report to the law society, improper withdrawal of $5,500 held in trust for fees before delivering bills to the client, failure to comply with accounting obligations over a four year period, and improperly commissioning an affidavit by not personally witnessing the attestation.”

Grewal’s suspension was said to be curtailed from what may have been a longer one, granted there was “evidence establishing that none of Grewal’s misconduct arose from dishonesty or deliberate misconduct for personal gain.”

As well, “the panel also considered evidence of a clear connection between Grewal’s misconduct and mental health issues related to childhood and personal trauma, and that the consequences flowed from his decision to report that trauma,” noted the society in a statement Aug. 10.

Grewal was also ordered to undertake trust account supervision and educational courses.

He claimed his annual income was in the range of $45,000 to $50,000 and so the tribunal panel afforded him 16 months to pay $9,000 in costs.

gwood@glaciermedia.ca