SDT: Robert Simon Brand

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  • Application 10881-2011
  • Admitted 1980
  • Hearing 28 February 2012
  • Reasons 19 March 2012

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The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice as a solicitor for the period of six months to commence on 28 February 2012.

It further ordered that upon the expiry of the fixed term of suspension referred to above, he should be ­subject to conditions imposed by the SDT as follows: he might not practise as a sole practitioner, partner of a recognised body or member of a ­limited liability partnership, legal ­disciplinary practice or alternative business structure; that for the ­avoidance of doubt he might only work as a solicitor in employment approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; and that there be liberty to either party to apply to the SDT to vary the conditions set out above.

Contrary to rules 1(c) and (d) of the Solicitors Practice Rules 1990 and, in respect of acts after 1 July 2007, ­contrary to rules 1.04 and 1.05 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007, the respondent had (a) failed to act in the best interests of his clients and (b) acted in a way likely to diminish the trust the public placed in him or in the profession; and he had acted or continued to act where there was a conflict between his interests and those of his clients, contrary to rule 16D of the rules and, in respect of acts after 1 July 2007, contrary to rule 3.01 of the code.

\The SDT was concerned at the serious nature of the breaches which included breaches of the core duties and the respondent’s fiduciary duty to the individuals concerned. The core duties were fundamental and underpinned regulation of the profession, and it was imperative that a solicitor adhered to those duties and complied with his professional obligations to maintain the public’s confidence in him and the profession. While the SDT accepted that the respondent had exercised poor judgment, it did not accept that that had absolved him of his obligations to the investors/clients and his duty to act with the utmost integrity. The SDT was especially mindful of the fact that the respondent had given personal guarantees to the investors/clients when he knew or should have known that he could not honour them. The SDT had to balance the need to protect the public and the profession’s reputation with the imposition of a proportionate sanction. In all the circumstances, it ordered that the respondent be suspended from practice for a period of six months and that conditions be attached to his practising certificate.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £12,000.

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