A paralegal who misled the court to stop her client’s case being struck out has been barred from the legal profession.
Sana Patel had been with Leeds firm Lowell Solicitors for three months working in its litigation department when she doctored an email to try and cover the mistake.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority reported this week that Patel had been dealing with a debt recovery matter on behalf of a client but discovered there was no record of a court fee having been paid to the court. She only found out about the mistake a week after the deadline for paying the fee, and without such payment she was told the claim had automatically been struck out.
Patel then altered the content of another email on a separate matter which had been sent to the court before that deadline, to suggest it related to the struck-out matter.
The court relied on Patel’s email, accepting that the court fee had been paid, and reinstated the claim.
It was only when her firm identified the fee was not paid that Patel admitted she had altered the email to mislead the court. The firm then applied to the court, explaining the true facts and asking that the matter be struck out. Patel was dismissed and reported to the SRA.
She accepted misleading the court with the doctored email and that she acted dishonestly. She expressed regret and remorse for her actions and has co-operated with the SRA investigation.
As a non-solicitor, Patel was made subject to a section 43 order preventing her from working for any other regulated firm without SRA permission. She will also pay £300 costs.