The Law Society of B.C. is asking for a judge to step in and stop a Surrey, B.C., woman accused of posing as a lawyer and charging for legal services ranging from immigration claims to family disputes.
According to court filings, a former client says she did 140 hours of cleaning and cooking for Jasmeet Dhaliwal's family in exchange for help with several legal matters, only to find that no work had been done on her files.
The client wrote in an affidavit filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday that Dhaliwal had promised to help with a family law matter in February 2023.
The affidavit alleges that when the client asked about the status of her case four months later, Dhaliwal threatened her.
"Ms. Dhaliwal would not give me any update and instead told me not to return to the house or office. She threatened me with her dogs, saying that they would bite me if I ever came back," the former client wrote.
"Ms. Dhaliwal ignored my phone calls after that."
The former client alleges that Dhaliwal referred to herself using the Punjabi word for lawyer, and gave her name as "Jaspreet."
The law society's registry lists Jaspreet Dhaliwal as a lawyer in good standing.
The real Jaspreet Dhaliwal told CBC News in a written statement, "I would like to make it clear that I am in no way affiliated or know the individual who has misrepresented themselves as a lawyer. I am appalled to learn Jasmeet Dhaliwal was using my name in this manner."
The client's affidavit says she only learned Jasmeet Dhaliwal's real name and discovered she wasn't a lawyer after turning to a community legal clinic for help.
A petition from the law society asks for an order permanently prohibiting Dhaliwal and her company, Global Unity Consulting, from engaging in the practice of law, unless she becomes a member in good standing.
Dhaliwal has yet to file a response, but denied all of the allegations in an email to CBC.
"We are currently looking into this complaint as it was falsely brought on by someone. We were just aware of this complaint and will be contacting the law society against the same," she wrote.
She said she has reached out to the law society to try to resolve the matter.
'I do not believe Ms. Dhaliwal filed any documents'
The former client's affidavit says she turned to Dhaliwal for help after a legal aid lawyer allegedly agreed to a divorce order without her consent. A co-worker recommended Dhaliwal, calling her a "good lawyer," according to the affidavit.
The client writes that all of her dealings with Dhaliwal were in Punjabi. She alleges Dhaliwal told her she could reopen her divorce case, file a law society complaint and a defamation lawsuit against her original lawyer, and file two complaints against her ex-husband with Canadian immigration authorities.
Dhaliwal allegedly told the client her fee for these services would be $4,000. The client's affidavit says that when she told Dhaliwal she would have trouble paying this amount, they struck a deal in which she would cook and clean for Dhaliwal's mother before a family wedding.
The former client estimates she worked 140 hours for the family between May 17 and June 10. She says Dhaliwal put the total at 70 hours and agreed to reduce her bill by $1,050, the equivalent of $15 an hour — less than minimum wage.
A community law clinic in Surrey filed a complaint about Dhaliwal with the Law Society of B.C. (Manjula Dufresne/CBC )
According to the affidavit, the client confronted Dhaliwal about the status of her files after the wedding, and Dhaliwal cut off communication.
The client says she turned to Sources Legal Resources Centre in Surrey for help with her family law case. An advocate informed her that Dhaliwal was not a lawyer and could not provide legal services.
"I do not believe Ms. Dhaliwal filed any documents or contacted any of the agencies or organizations on my behalf as she said she did," the client wrote in her affidavit.
Sources would later file a complaint with the law society.
Dhaliwal faced similar allegations in a small claims lawsuit filed in December by a man who says he paid her a $2,500 retainer to help him secure Canadian citizenship and handle a custody dispute with his ex-wife.
His claim alleges that Dhaliwal did no work on his file in 22 months, and when she agreed to give him a partial refund, the cheque bounced.
The claim also says that after more than a year without any progress on the file and several increasingly frustrated requests for updates, "Dhaliwal responded suddenly, explaining to the claimant that she was a paralegal, not a lawyer."
Dhaliwal has not filed a response to that claim, but told CBC it is being settled.