A former partner at a personal injury firm has admitted multiple failings in how cases were checked and administered.
Taher Zia Shad, formerly with Lancashire firm Isaac Abraham Solicitors, submitted one claim form without obtaining formal instructions from the client, and on another occasion failed to spot all references to a client in the file were in the wrong name.
According to a regulatory settlement agreement published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Shad also failed to carry out due diligence on two claims from claims management company Blend Recoveries to make sure they were legitimate.
The SRA said its investigators also found that Shad failed to carry out client account reconciliations at least once every five weeks, in breach of SRA rules.
As at March 2016, the firm had a cash shortage of around £3,100, and also held office money in the sum of £13,370 in the client account, caused by not actioning transfers of costs from the client account to the bank account.
The misconduct was traced over two separate SRA investigations in 2014 and 2016.
While admitting rule breaches, Shad offered as mitigation that at the time of the breaches the firm was ‘fledgling’ and work was coming in at such speed and in such volume that at times ‘resources fell behind requirements’. He suggested the breaches were largely administrative, and said new policies, systems and controls had been put in place to limit and manage future risks.
Shad, who is now with Oldham firm Inaaya Solicitors Limited, was rebuked and fined £2,000 – the largest sanction available to the SRA without sending an individual’s case to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. He must also pay almost £1,000 in costs.