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Lawyer’s silence during investigation costs him legal career

A Queensland solicitor will be struck off for barely acknowledging an investigation into his alleged misconduct.

user iconNaomi Neilson 09 April 2024 Big Law
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Despite first making weak promises to comply with a disciplinary investigation, a decision by Seyed Jazayeri, or Sam Jazayeri, to ignore all communications from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) has cost him his decade-long legal career.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) found his silence amounted to professional misconduct and recommended his name be removed from the roll of practitioners.

QCAT’s Justice Susan Brown said that while Jazayeri only had one charge against him, “the only sensible inference that can be made … is that he is indifferent to his status as a member of the legal profession and the importance of his compliance”.

 
 

The LSC first became aware of Jazayeri in 2021 when it received complaints about his conduct as a migration agent between 2017 and 2018 from the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA).

The LSC informed Jazayeri it would be taking over the investigation and soon received emails from the lawyer that were either undated or had their dates removed. Jazayeri also denied all allegations.

In August 2022, the LSC requested dated copies of the emails.

Although he informed the LSC he would do so, Jazayeri ignored the first request and two more follow-ups the following month.

The LSC sent another letter in December to inform Jazayeri it would seek a finding of professional misconduct unless he could explain why he had not replied to any of its communication.

Jazayeri still failed to engage even when the matter moved to QCAT.

Justice Brown said the fact there was no explanation for his silence indicated “professional indifference and disregard of his obligations”.

“Compliance with legal obligations by a legal practitioner is a fundamental requirement of being a legal practitioner and one of the incidents of the privilege of legal practice,” Justice Brown said.

Justice Brown added the failure to respond to LSC’s notices “goes to the core” of Jazayeri’s obligations as a lawyer.

“In the circumstances of the present case … the respondent has shown he is permanently unfit for practice and that protection of the public and general deterrence demands that the respondent’s name be removed from the roll of practitioners,” Justice Brown said.