The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has rejected allegations of dishonesty and recklessness against a solicitor who acted for a vendor where she and her husband were buying the property.
The tribunal accepted Nasrin Bibi Ali had made a ‘foolish and misconceived ill judgment’ in acting for a long-standing contract in the sale of the Manchester property.
But the tribunal also found no harm was caused by her conduct, she was not motivated by personal gain, and no breach of trust was involved. It ordered that Ali be reprimanded – the least serious sanction available for someone found in breach of solicitor rules - and pay around £9,700 costs.
Ali, admitted in 1998, had trained at a large national firm and run her own partnership before joining Slater and Gordon in 2016.
She and her husband had already agreed to buy the property before she started her latest job, and she was instructed by the owner to act for him on the sale in her position at Slater and Gordon.
Separately, her role was placed at risk of redundancy in March 2017, and a month later the potential conflict situation emerged. She was dismissed in May 2017 and the matter referred to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The tribunal accepted the facts of the case, but rejected the most serious allegations of lacking integrity and dishonesty, finding Ali did not think she was doing anything wrong, misguidedly thought she was following SRA rules and her firm’s procedures, and had not sought to hide anything.
The tribunal heard Ali had already lost her job, any prospect of any redundancy pay, and a part time judicial post from which she had to resign. Her position as a Labour councillor was now at risk. It was found she had already suffered significant harm set against the backdrop of a previously unblemished career.