A legal aid solicitor who backdated an application for inquest funding – then sought to destroy evidence of his misconduct – has been struck off.
Charles David Myers, who was only admitted as a solicitor in 2017, agreed with the SRA he should be removed from the roll. The outcome was verified following a hearing earlier this month at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
The tribunal heard Myers, formerly an assistant solicitor with Leeds firm Mintons, had realised the applications were not signed by the relevant clients ahead of an inquest and asked them to sign them at the inquest. He then backdated the signatures to make it appear they were signed months earlier.
When the firm was due to undergo an audit by the Legal Aid Agency, Myers realised he had backdated one signature to the day after the application was submitted, meaning it was likely to be declared invalid. He then attempted to change the date of the client declaration.
The attempted amendment was obvious and rendered the form unusable, so Myers tried to destroy the application with a view to informing the LAA it had been lost. He placed the application in the shredding bag on the landing outside his office.
Just over a week later, ahead of a meeting with his managers to discuss the matter, he admitted his conduct.
In his mitigation, not agreed by the SRA, Myers claimed he was placed under an ‘untenable level of pressure’ and had undertaken half of his training contract while his supervisor was on maternity leave. During this time he said he was expected to progress a caseload of inquests and associated litigation, while also being prepared to prepare wills and last powers of attorney.
He told the tribunal he demonstrated ‘candour, remorse and insight’ in admitting his conduct to the firm and the SRA, and said he was not directly enriched by his actions.
The firm declined to comment when approached by the Gazette.
As well as being struck off, Myers was ordered to pay £2,322 in costs.