SDT: Jude Nzeako
- Application 10836-2011
- Admitted 2006
- Hearing 8 February 2012
- Reasons 22 February 2012
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £10,000. The respondent had failed to produce books and accounting records to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for inspection, in breach of rule 34 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998; he had failed to deal with the SRA promptly or co-operatively, in breach of rule 20.05 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007; he had failed to comply with a notice of investigation dated 22 June 2010 issued by the SRA, in breach of rule 20.08 of the code; and in respect of the matters set out above, he had acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust that the public placed in him and/or the legal profession, in breach of rule 1.06 of the code.
The SDT noted that the respondent had not engaged with the proceedings and had not attended before it at the substantive hearing in order to provide any explanation or mitigation for his conduct. The SDT had found proved all four allegations against the respondent. As a practising solicitor, the respondent had been duty-bound to comply with his professional obligations and his regulator. He had failed singularly to do that. The SDT was concerned as to how the public could have confidence in the profession when a solicitor did not engage with his/her regulatory body and in the respondent’s case, had given an impression of absolute contempt for his regulatory body.
The SDT decided that it was reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances to impose a fine of £10,000 on the respondent. It had considered the need to afford protection to the public should the respondent re-apply in the future for a practising certificate since he did not currently hold one.
The SDT also had regard to the overall conduct of the respondent in the present matter. It recommended as a protective measure that should the respondent apply in future for a practising certificate, the applicant should consider whether to impose a condition, namely that the respondent only be allowed to practise as an employee and not as a partner, member or director or as a sole practitioner. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £6,856.