Two directors of a Yorkshire-based firm who allowed monies relating to a charity dinner to be held in the client account and a compensation award to be paid indirectly from the account have agreed a regulatory settlement with the Solicitors Regulation Authority..
Simon Pass, director of Yorkshire-based Law Offices, trading as Wilsons Solicitors,was fined £2,000 and agreed to pay £5,000 in costs. James Mawbey-Shaw, co-director, was reprimanded and agreed to pay £5,000 in costs.
The Pudsey-based firm was investigated by Solicitors Regulation Authority forensic investigators in 2012 and a report was produced the following year.
The report found that office money was being held in the client account, that the client account was used to pay compensation ordered by the former Legal Complaints Service and that the pair had allowed monies relating to a charity dinner organised by the firm to be paid into the client account.
In a notice published this week, the SRA said the compensation award, of £800, had been paid from an office account but that the same sum had been withdrawn from the client account and paid into the office account.
Both men accepted breaches of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 2011 and 1998. In mitigation they said that a third principal of the firm had effective control of the practice at the material times. Pass said that he had been 'prevailed upon' to take up the roles of compliance officer for finance and for legal practice. He accepted that he should not have taken on the roles if he was not in a position to discharge them properly.