A former manager of one of the country’s leading personal injury firms has been thrown out the profession for repeatedly misleading clients on the progress of their cases.
Kevin Clarke, who was also a shareholder in north west practice Bott and Co, told one client the firm had received £5,000 to settle his claim: the claim was actually struck out due to Clarke’s mistake, and he paid the money himself.
Clarke, a non-solicitor, told clients in a different group action that judgment had been entered against the defendant and enforcement action was being taken, when neither of these statements was true. In another case, Clarke told a client his claim had been relisted at court, then blamed the court for further delays when he was in fact responsible.
A notice published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority confirms that the firm and its insurers have paid ‘substantial’ amounts to clients to make good the losses caused by Clarke’s conduct. The firm had identified the misconduct last year and Clarke, who had been with Bott and Co for more than six years, admitted misleading clients. The matter was self-reported to the SRA and clients contacted immediately. Clarke sold his shareholding and left the firm in August 2017.
In a statement, senior partner David Bott said: ‘There has been no criticism of Bott and Co by the SRA during their investigation and in their findings. All client issues were resolved immediately and clients were very satisfied with our honesty and quick resolution.’
Clarke had been a key figure at Bott and Co as it grew its flight delay compensation business, and was regularly used as the figurehead and spokesman for developments in aviation law.
The SRA said it took into account the admissions made by Clarke and mitigation he put forward. He cooperated with the firm’s and regulator’s investigations and suffered from a medical condition impairing his judgement at the time of the misconduct.
Clarke was rebuked, fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £600 costs. He is disqualified from being employed by any licensed body.