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Blank cheques and trust violations land B.C. lawyers fines

Fines of $15,000 and $25,000 have been levied against two Metro Vancouver lawyers for violations of the Legal Profession Act.
Both lawyers have cooperated with the Law Society of BC.

Two Surrey-based lawyers have recently agreed to penalty terms with the Law Society of BC for committing professional misconduct in separate matters.

In the first case, Khushpal Singh Taunk and the society’s discipline committee agreed on May 11 that Taunk committed misconduct and will now pay a $25,000 fine.

Between approximately November 2017 and June 2020, Taunk failed to promptly record 15 general transactions and maintained about $327,000 more than the $300 permitted of his own funds in the firm’s pooled trust account.

Taunk is a 23-year veteran lawyer handling civil litigation matters with Sovereign Law Group.

Meanwhile, the society also came to an agreement on a separate case with Liam P. Kearns on May 17.

The society fined Kearns $15,000 and compelled him to undertake legal training after it was determined between September 2020 and March 2022, Kearns gave a non-lawyer at least 17 pre-signed blank trust cheques.

Kearns is a 31-year veteran lawyer and has worked at his own firm, Kearns & Company, since 2001.

Kearns explained the practice of leaving blank cheques was “limited to periods during the pandemic as opposed to it being a routine practice,” according to the agreement posted by the society.

In each case, the lawyers cooperated with the society and acknowledged their mistakes.

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