Unqualified ‘advisor’ loses appeal of ban

A Gladstone law graduate who was banned from practising law after moonlighting as a lawyer has failed in his appeal to have the ban overturned.

Surendra Raghoobar challenged an injunction granted by the Supreme Court in Brisbane on March 28, which restrained him from engaging in legal practice in Queensland when not an Australian legal practitioner.

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) had sought the order after discovering Mr Raghoobar, who has a law degree from the University of Kent in England, was engaged in legal practice.

His activities included advising on court processes and procedures; helping to create affidavits and other documents; helping prepare cases for litigation; and drafting correspondence.

The injunction specifically prohibited Mr Raghoobar from:

(a) providing legal advice in relation to proceedings or potential proceedings, whether in person or in writing;


(b)       corresponding or communicating on behalf of parties to proceedings or potential parties to proceedings, or drafting correspondence or communications for parties or potential parties to proceedings to send themselves in relation to such proceedings;

(c)        drawing documents on behalf of, or as agent of, parties to proceedings or potential parties to proceedings;

(d)       drafting submissions, whether oral or written, for parties or potential parties to proceedings to present in court;

(e)       conferring with parties to proceedings in relation to those proceedings; and

(f)        attending at, or appearing in, court on behalf of parties to proceedings, including negotiating or mediating litigation matters on behalf of any party to proceedings.

In the Court of Appeal today, before Chief Justice Bowskill, Justice Dalton and Acting Justice Buss, Mr Raghoobar appealed the decision on the grounds that the judge erred:

  • in giving undue and excessive weight to the evidence put forward by the LSC;
  • in failing to give any, or otherwise, gave little or insignificant weight to the evidence Mr Raghoobar put forward;
  • in finding that Mr Raghoobar engaged in legal practice within the definition of the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld) (LPA)
  • accordingly, in making the order dated 28 March 2023 in favour of the LSC.

He sought orders that the order made on March be “quashed” and the matter be relisted for a hearing.

Mr Raghoobar relied on affidavits from three clients, who all said that he had “never provided me with legal advice”.

Chief Justice Bowskill, with whom Justice Dalton and Acting Justice Buss agreed, dismissed Mr Raghoobar’s re-iterated claims that he was merely “assisting a number of friends and acquaintances for which he was properly invoicing them, for his services”, and that his clients knew he was not a legal practitioner.

“Plainly, in all the various help and assistance that he gave, he was providing advice as to what and how to do it,” she said.

Chief Justice Bowskill said there was no basis on which the judge erred, in the manner described by Mr Raghoobar under the first two grounds, in arriving at the decision.

“It was not a matter of placing “weight” on evidence from the respondent or the appellant – the finding was essentially based on material seized from the appellant, including the invoices, and what he said in his oral evidence when cross-examined,” she said.


“When the relevant principles are applied to those facts – which are, as already noted, essentially undisputed – the conclusion reached is unquestionably correct.”

Chief Justice Bowskill also found there was no basis for a challenge on the other two grounds because the conclusion that Mr Raghoobar had engaged in legal practice as defined by the LPA was “amply supported by the evidence”.

“Not only has the appellant engaged in legal practice, in breach of the prohibition in s 24 of the Legal Profession Act 2007, he demonstrates a concerning lack of insight into why that is a serious matter,” she said.

“It is appropriate that he be restrained by court order from engaging in conduct that would breach that prohibition.”

Mr Raghoobar was also ordered to pay the LSC’s court costs

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