A solicitor who gave unregulated immigration advice to ‘vulnerable’ clients despite being suspended at the time has been struck off.
Flora Magadaline Mendes was also ordered to pay more than £1,000 in costs, following a decision handed down by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Mendes unsuccessfully applied to have the hearing adjourned claiming that she was ‘mentally disturbed so much so that I do not want to face the panel or anyone at the SDT as a culprit or criminal’.
In April last year, Mendes was convicted of four counts of providing unregulated immigration advice at Luton Magistrates’ Court.
The 37-year-old was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for each offence suspended for two years. She was also ordered to pay £2,325 in compensation and £2,881 in prosecution costs.
Mendes was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors on 1 June 2009 but in January 2013 was suspended from practice until May 2018 following an SRA intervention into an unregistered practice called Mendes Solicitors.
The suspension was briefly lifted in part between May and 20 September 2013.
In October 2014, the Solicitors Regulation Authority said Mendes would face a hearing before the SDT.
In its decision, published on 9 September, the court said the convictions ‘spoke for themselves’.
‘For a solicitor to have criminal convictions in these circumstances resulting from offending which spanned a period of time was clearly a failure by that solicitor to act with integrity,’ the STD said.
It added that the harm caused, whether or not it was intended, was significant and reasonably foreseeable and caused significant harm to the legal profession’s reputation.
‘No solicitor should act in this way and the impact on the public and the reputation of the profession was substantial,’ the judgment added.