SDT: Colin Richard North
- Application 10879-2011
- Admitted 2001
- Hearing 15 February 2012
- Reasons 5 March 2012
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice as a solicitor for a period of six months to commence on 15 February 2012.
Upon the expiry of that fixed term of suspension the respondent should be subject to the condition that he might not practise as a sole practitioner, partner or member of a limited liability partnership (LLP), legal disciplinary practice (LDP) or alternative business structure (ABS), with liberty to either party to apply to the SDT to vary the condition set out above.
The respondent had acted in breach of rules 1.04, 1.05 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 in that he had failed to inform lender clients of material facts; and he had acted in breach of rule 5.01 of the 2007 code in that he had failed to exercise appropriate supervision over an unadmitted member of staff. The SDT considered that while the allegations were serious, they did not merit his being struck off the roll. Because of his lack of experience of conveyancing, the respondent had been unable to supervise his unadmitted staff and he should have appreciated that fact. He had also failed to inform lender clients of material facts which were important for them to know. The SDT had noted the respondent’s mitigation and that the scales had fallen from his eyes as the investigation proceeded, and that he acknowledged in his response to the forensic investigation report that: ‘I have been both naive and foolish and not as diligent as I should have been.’
In the circumstances the SDT considered that a short period of suspension with a condition upon expiry would be appropriate. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £18,926, such order not to be enforced without leave of the SDT.