A conveyancing solicitor has been fined for failing to register a notice of interest in a property. As a result, an investor did not receive £40,400 due when a property was sold.
Kim Singh Landa, an assistant solicitor at Manchester firm HSK Solicitors, was fined £5,000 for what the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal conceded was a mistake.
The tribunal said this caused ‘substantial loss to the individual who had invested in the property and harm to the reputation of the profession’.
Landa was instructed by a business to register an AN1 form to secure the interest for a client, a Mr JM. But after the initial application was returned by Land Registry due to a number of issues that arose during the process, the AN1 form was never registered.
By the time Landa realised the form was not registered the property had been sold.
The tribunal also found that before Landa discovered that the application was not registered, he had incorrectly informed his client that Land Registry had confirmed the interest.
Landa explained that other fee-earners had been working on the file, and that there was a lack of supervision meaning the registration never took place. He said his mistake was ‘not to pick the file up himself and pay attention to it’.
In mitigation, he also noted that he worked in a busy practice with a caseload of one to two hundred files and thirty to forty completions a month between three fee-earners. He also noted that he now worked in a different way.
He said that a claim has been made against the firm’s insurers to cover the loss.
The tribunal said: ‘The respondent has made a mistake, his actions were neither planned nor spontaneous. He had acted in breach of a position of trust but no more so than the average solicitor who made an error.’
But it added: ‘The harm was reasonably foreseeable. It included harm to Mr JM, who suffered a quantifiable financial loss, harm to the reputation of the profession and the reputation of [HSK Solicitors].’
The tribunal ordered Landa to pay a fine of £5,000 and costs of £3,452.