SDT: Julio Perez
- Application 10766-2011
- Hearing 21 February 2012
- Reasons 6 March 2012
The SDT ordered that as from 21 February 2012, except in accordance with Law Society permission: (i) no solicitor should employ or remunerate, in connection with his practice as a solicitor, the respondent; (ii) no employee of a solicitor should employ or remunerate, in connection with the solicitor’s practice the respondent; (iii) no recognised body should employ or remunerate the respondent; (iv) no manager or employee of a recognised body should employ or remunerate the respondent in connection with the business of that body; (v) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the respondent to be a manager of the body; and (vi) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the respondent to have an interest in the body.
The respondent had occasioned or been party to, with or without the connivance of a solicitor, an act or default in relation to a legal practice which involved conduct on his part of such a nature that, in the opinion of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, it would be undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice in the ways set out in section 43(1) of the Solicitors Act 1974.
During 2008 and 2009, while employed by M LLP and using the firm’s email system, the respondent had sent numerous emails, the content of which was of a racist, sexist and wholly inappropriate nature, to work colleagues and to his girlfriend outside the firm. 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 considered that it was a fundamental principle to maintain the reputation of the profession, in the interests of both the profession and the public. The profession’s most valuable asset was the collective reputation and confidence which it inspired, not only in respect of solicitors, but also in relation to those they employed, whether qualified or not.
In all the circumstances, the SDT decided that it was appropriate for a section 43 order to be made against the respondent. A section 43 order did not preclude the respondent from working for a solicitor, but in order to do so he and any employer would first have to obtain permission in advance from the applicant.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £5,000.