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Solicitor caught in TV sting fails to overturn sham marriage strike-off
Credit: Anuj Biyani on Flickr

Solicitor caught in TV sting fails to overturn sham marriage strike-off

A solicitor caught on camera advising an undercover reporter about a sham marriage has failed in a High Court bid to overturn his subsequent ban from the profession. The case is Naqvi v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2020] EWHC 1394 (Admin).

Syed Mazaher Naqvi was struck off last year for professional misconduct after being filmed discussing a non-genuine marriage for immigration purposes without warning the client not to proceed. The programme went out on ITV in 2015 and led to an investigation. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that Naqvi was “deliberately closing his eyes to the obvious so as to avoid responsibility and to be able to deny it if the sham were exposed”.

On appeal, the High Court noted that Naqvi “was prepared to engage in a course of conduct to deliberately circumvent the Immigration Rules”. It dismissed the argument that the law on entrapment applied to Naqvi’s situation:

in the case of non-state agents, the Court will only stay proceedings as an abuse of process where the alleged entrapment entails gross misconduct or commercial lawlessness on the part of the non-state agent in question.

Lord Justice Flaux, with whom Mr Justice Fordham agreed, also dismissed various other grounds of appeal, including a challenge to the finding of dishonesty and that the sting operation amounted to “exceptional circumstances”  when it came to fixing the appropriate sanction. 

CJ McKinney is Free Movement's editor. He's here to make sure that the website is on top of everything that happens in the world of immigration law, whether by writing articles, commissioning them out or considering pitches. CJ is an adviser on legal and policy matters to the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, and keeps up with the wider legal world as a contributor to Legal Cheek. Twitter: @mckinneytweets.