A former partner in a firm has pledged to eschew the solicitors’ profession after admitting to rule breaches in more than 100 conveyancing transactions.
Emma Kate Dancer, formerly a solicitor and partner at defunct Nottingham firm Andersons Solicitors, told the Solicitors Regulation Authority she had continued to act for lender and borrower clients where a conflict of interest arose.
She admitted failing to report material facts to lender clients and/or failing to comply with lender client instructions in more than 100 transactions from 2005 to 2009.
The firm, which closed in 2013, reported its concerns to the regulator in 2012 and an investigation was started looking at historic conveyancing files.
In a regulatory agreement published by the SRA last week, it was reported that a number of lender clients suffered losses as a result of Dancer’s misconduct.
As well as issues over conflict of interest, the notice stated that Dancer failed on a number of transactions to adequately check the source and authenticity of funds, as required by money laundering regulations.
In mitigation, Dancer said the majority of matters took place before she became a partner in 2008 and all happened more than six years ago.
She told the SRA she was ‘simply not aware’ of any requirement to inform a lender client of a transaction having taken place in the previous six months.
She had ‘genuinely believed’ that where a deposit was paid by the introducer or referred, it would originally come from the client. On one matter where deposit funds had been paid by third parties, she had not realised this until the file was examined some time later.
The breaches, she said, were not due to dishonesty but to pressure of work, lack of knowledge and lack of ability to cope.
Dancer, who left the firm in January 2013 and has not practised since, stated she has no intention of returning to the profession.
She agreed to pay a £2,000 fine and pay £3,000 towards the SRA’s costs.