SDT: Rodney William Noon
- Application 10696-2011
- Admitted 1985
- Hearing 26 January 2012
- Reasons 20 February 2012
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £9,000.
The respondent had failed to co-operate with the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the course of the investigation, contrary to rule 20.05 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007; he had transferred or withdrawn money from client account in excess of the amount held on behalf of the particular client, in breach of rule 22 of the Solicitors Account Rules 1998; he had failed to carry out client bank account reconciliations at least once in every five weeks, in breach of rule 32(7) of the rules; he had failed to remedy breaches of the rules promptly on discovery, in breach of rule 7 thereof; in breach of rule 1(c),(d) and (e) of the Solicitors Practice Rules 1990 and, in respect of actions after 1 July 2007, rule 1.04, 1.05 and 1.06 of the code he had failed to carry out the instructions of clients diligently and promptly and he had failed to deal promptly with communications relating to client matters; and he had failed to deal in an open, prompt or co-operative way with the Legal Complaints Service and/or the Solicitors Regulation Authority, in breach of rule 20.05.
The respondent’s repeated failure to engage with the regulator was extremely serious and the lengthy delays that had occurred were totally unacceptable. He had damaged the reputation of the profession by his failure to act diligently which had caused considerable distress to two of his clients. However, he had subsequently behaved honourably by ensuring that he had rectified his accounting difficulties, compensated one of his clients, transferred files to other solicitors and made arrangements to close his practice. It was the respondent’s first appearance before the SDT and he had been very contrite. He had admitted all the allegations against him.
The closure of the respondent’s practice would be very painful for him. He had said that he was ashamed and the SDT accepted that. The respondent had demonstrated the seriousness with which he had taken the matter and had provided a reference from the firm who wished to employ him with the full knowledge of the present proceedings. The SDT considered that the respondent had shown insight into the issues that had given rise to the allegations.
In all the circumstances the SDT decided that the appropriate penalty was to order that the respondent pay a fine of £9,000. He was ordered to pay costs of £13,000.