An immigration lawyer in Victoria has withdrawn his membership from the BC Law Society and may not practice for at least 10 years after he was found lying to dozens of clients.
James Edward Turner admitted to professional misconduct in the face of disciplinary hearings and has agreed not to apply for readmission to the Law Society until September 30, 2029.
Turner has been practicing immigration law as a sole practitioner since 1987.
Over the course of his work on immigration-related matters, he was found to have misrepresented facts to his clients on multiple occasions.
His actions included submitting an incomplete application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) knowing that it would be rejected, and when asked about it by his client, lied and told them that he had not heard back from IRCC.
When the client eventually found out that his application had been rejected, they instructed Turner to file a restoration of status application.
Although Turner knew this needed to be done right away, he dragged his feet and submitted the application in September but lied to his client, saying that he had done it in July.
In another case, a work permit and study permit application for one of Turner’s clients was rejected because of the absence of relevant documents and disclosures.
However Turner failed to tell his client that the application was refused, instead telling them that he had not heard about their status.
A total of 32 similar allegations were made against Turner, which prompted the Law Society to conduct discipline proceedings in 2018.
Over the course of their investigation, Turner self-reported and cooperated in the proceedings, eventually agreeing to withdraw his membership from the Law Society.
He has explained that his misconduct was a result of personal and mental health issues that he has been receiving treatment for.
This statement was backed up by a medical assessment from a qualified practitioner.