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‘Concerning’: Qld man insists assisting, charging clients does not count as legal practice

A Central Queensland man who drafted submissions and appeared in court for “clients” despite not holding a practising certificate has been criticised by a court for his “concerning lack of insight”.

user iconNaomi Neilson 29 September 2023 Big Law
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Gladstone man Surendra Raghoobar returned to the Queensland Supreme Court this month to appeal Justice Glenn Martin’s finding that he engaged in legal practice without being qualified to do so.

Mr Raghoobar, who has a law degree from the UK’s University of Kent, was banned from engaging in legal practice after a search of his home uncovered documents filed in various courts, tax invoices and communications with up to 20 different “clients”.

Despite the evidence, Mr Raghoobar said Justice Martin erred in finding he engaged in legal practice and placed “excessive” weight on the Legal Services Commissioner’s submissions.


Chief Justice Helen Bowskill, together with Justices Jean Dalton and Michael Buss, upheld Justice Martin’s findings and order.

“It was not a matter of placing ‘weight’ on evidence … the finding was essentially based on material seized from the appellant, including the invoices, and what he said in his oral evidence when cross-examined,” Chief Justice Bowskill said in the written judgment.

“When the relevant principles are applied to those facts … the conclusion reached is unquestionably correct.”

During a hearing earlier this year, Mr Raghoobar said he was “merely assisting people” he had known a “long time”.

He said he did this by making submissions to police prosecutors, meeting with them to discuss “what the issues are”, drafting submissions for court, and helping them “understand the court process”. He then charged his clients a “fee” and created invoices.

Under examination, Mr Raghoobar said he was “helping them because they can’t afford big law firms or they can’t afford big lawyers” and added he does not “see what the harm is”.

According to the court, Mr Raghoobar’s main argument was he had not provided legal advice. However, Chief Justice Bowskill said “the material is replete with examples of that being done”.

Chief Justice Bowskill said even if Mr Raghoobar had told his clients he was not a legal practitioner, they were not in a position to know he should not be “assisting” them with their matters.

“They were not to know that, because they were dealing with a person who was not a legal practitioner, they had none of the protections that a consumer of legal services otherwise has, by virtue of the regulatory regime that supervises legal practitioners.

“Not only has the appellant engaged in legal practice … he demonstrates a concerning lack of insight into why that is a serious matter,” Chief Justice Bowskill said.