A former solicitor has been allowed back to work inside a regulated law firm – less than seven months after he was struck off by the tribunal.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority announced today it had granted permission to former personal injury specialist Geoffrey Hart to work at Coventry firm Kumari Hart Limited.
Hart, who had been a solicitor for 21 years, will be employed as a marketing and administration assistant after his employment was approved by the regulator last month.
He had been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in October after drafting a letter to help a client conceal the extent of a damages settlement from her husband. The letter, prompted by a request from his client, referred to her receiving £30,000 in damages when in fact she had secured £48,000. The sanction was agreed between Hart and the SRA and approved by the tribunal.
Permission to return to the profession comes with a number of conditions. Hart’s work will be directly supervised by managing director Anu Hart, and in her absence he will not work in the office.
Any proposed variation to Hart’s job description, duties, or arrangements as to his supervision must be notified to the SRA in advance of the change taking place and the variation requires permission from the regulator. The SRA will also keep approval and the condition attached to it under review.
A struck-off solicitor returning to the regulated sector is rare but not unheard of. Any solicitor wishing to employ someone who has been struck off in connection with their practice must secure SRA approval, in according with the Solicitors Act 1974.
In its decision notice, the regulator said: ‘The SRA is satisfied that the above employment will not put public confidence in the administration of justice and the provision of legal services or the interests of clients at risk.’
Hart had submitted to the tribunal in October that he became ‘very emotional’ after learning his client had gone through tragic events in her personal life similar to those he was experiencing at the time, and he acted out of character in drafting the false letter. He made no attempt to conceal the letters and pressed his employer to recall the letter, which was not shown to the client’s husband or anyone else.