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The Law Society has come under fire after it emerged that a woman who faked her practising certificate was allowed to secure a training contract and to then work fraudulently as a solicitor for 10 months.
As a result of this case, the society has been forced to review its registration systems.
Megalambal Arumugam was given a three-year conditional discharge at the end of April for acting as an unqualified solicitor between February and November last year. The 25-year-old also admitted wrongly using a Law Society practising certificate and obtaining a wage by deception.
Arumugam failed her LPC, but was mistakenly sent a letter from the College of Law saying she had passed. Although the college subsequently corrected its mistake and asked for the letter back, she photocopied it and used the copy to obtain a training contract at Nottingham firm Bhatia Best. When the training contract period was over, she created a fake practising certificate using an unwitting colleagues certificate. Herdeceptionwas revealed when the firm applied to renew its solicitors certificates in bulk.
Ash Bhatia, the senior partner of Bhatia Best, said he was furious with the Law Society and claimed it had been aware that Arumugam had not passed her LPC when she started at his firm, but did nothing.
Weve wasted time, energy and money, he said. Theyve failed in their duty to me, to the firm, to the solicitors who work here and to the public. A Law Society spokesman said a review of its registration systems had been launched in light of the case.
The Law Society acted as soon as it was aware Miss Arumugam was working when she should not have been, he said. We cooperated fully with the police in the investigation. It was an unusual, if not unique, case.