Davinder Singh Bal has opened up for the first time since he was handed a 12-month suspension as solicitor by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
The case, which was concluded by the Tribunal earlier this month, concerned both Bal and his Managing Director at the time Rob Bhol concerning a detail in a client care letter that went out from his DBS Law firm in 2012.
The Tribunal were told that, between 2011 and 2014, Bal oversaw a great deal of expansion at the Sikh Channel, whilst leaving most day-to-day management to Bhol, who was also fined £10,000 by the Tribunal, and the management team he installed at the DBS Law firm.
During this time, a failure to account for commissions averaging £200 for each of approximately 400 clients for a hire agreement which was organised by Bhol led to an egregious error which was self reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority by Bal. Whilst the commissions were meant in good faith, with the ability to make courtesy cars available to clients who were involved in car accidents, the commission should have been clearly stated in the client care letter.
All commissions identified were then credited to his firm’s client account with over 400 clients advised without one complaint. A follow up letter to clients was considered misleading by the Tribunal albeit approved by both Bal and a compliance company retained on DBS’ behalf.
Throughout the Tribunal, no allegation was pursued by the regulator of dishonesty and the accounts when finalised, will show no personal gain either by DBS Law or Bal personally, and Davinder profoundly apologised for his errors to clients and to his regulator supported by references from, Retired Air Commodore Gordon Moulds, Lord Singh, Baroness Burt, Metro Mayor- Andy Street and A.S. Nandra.
The start of his twelve-month suspension coincided with DBS Law Limited, being placed in administration, with the assets and work in progress acquired by his former Co-Director, Parveen Attri, in her new firm PKA Legal Limited, still trading under the trading names DBS Law and Claim Today Solicitors. The work of DBS Law has seamlessly passed to the new firm in the same offices, with clients given the choice of whether to stay or go elsewhere.
Bal has stated that he will return to a much more “hands-on” approach with the Sikh Channel in his CEO role over the next twelve months and beyond, with clear aims to improve the channel’s infrastructure, content, and viewership across all demographics and markets.
“I’m looking forward to bringing improvements and innovations to the Sikh Channel over the coming months, in order to reach all segments of the Sikh community audience both the UK and abroad, as well as continue our important work at Sikh Channel Aid. This will be a challenge that will take the channel to new heights, and we are readily looking for any and all suggestions and support in helping us achieve our mission.”
Bal has also made clear that his suspension from practising law has no affect on his ability to be a director of a non-legal services providing company, such as the Sikh Channel and Sikh Channel Aid.