A sham solicitor from Sydenham has been given a suspended sentence after he charged immigrants for unregulated legal advice.

Babar Khan, aged 35 and of Mylis Close, was convicted on August 24 at Southwark Crown Court of providing unregulated immigration advice and services.

On August 25, Khan was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work and has been disqualified from holding any company directorship for eight years. He was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £500.

When Khan committed the crime, he was employed as a trainee solicitor.

But he claimed he was a solicitor and charged fees to three clients without telling them he was not qualified.

Judge Korner QC said: “Evidence heard in this case shows that you had no qualification whatsoever during the period of your activities, which goes back to 2012.

“The fact that your company was named Prime Legal Solicitors demonstrates that you intended to deceive people as you deliberately held yourself out to be a solicitor.

“For vulnerable applicants the right to remain in the UK is extremely important to them and their families. It is therefore equally important that they are represented by suitably qualified people.

“Immigration Tribunals in the UK are struggling to cope with the number of unmeritorious appeals because of illegal advisers like you. You took advantage of the desperation and vulnerability of these applicants.

“This is a seriously dishonest offence that crosses the custody threshold. There are no mitigating factors other than your hitherto good character.”

Speaking about the decision, the Immigration Services Deputy Commissioner Commissioner, Dr Ian Leigh, said: “The OISC is here to ensure that people seeking immigration advice are treated fairly by qualified people they can trust. Babar Khan chose to operate outside the law, and without regard for the protection of his clients.

“I am delighted with the outcome of this case, and I hope it sends a clear message to anyone considering providing unregulated immigration advice and services.”