A City solicitor accused of making unauthorised transfers amounting to almost £400,000 has appeared before the disciplinary tribunal.
Tony Norman Guise, ex-chair of the Commercial Litigation Association (CLAN) and a former member of the Law Society civil justice committee, is accused by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of making dishonest and unauthorised transfers between 2014 and 2015.
At a hearing this morning, the SRA said Guise transferred £353,000 out of his firm’s client account without authorisation. According to the regulator, the respondent claimed the client to whom the money belonged had agreed to invest the money in his digital litigation platform, ‘iCourt’.
The SRA said no copy of a written contract had been produced as evidence to the agreement. It added that there was a ‘remarkably consistent pattern’ of funds being transferred out of the client account, arriving in iCourt’s account, before being forwarded to Guise’s own bank account.
The regulator also alleged that £20,200 was transferred from CLAN Commercial Services - a separate entity to the Commercial Litigation Association - by Guise in 2014 and 2015. The SRA alleged this money was used for matters that were ‘clearly private and personal’, including a National Trust membership, a meal at London restaurant Coq d’Argent, and a Netflix subscription.
The SRA contended that the respondent acted dishonestly because he lacked authority to transfer funds belonging to CLAN Commercial Services for his personal use. According to the regulator, Guise contended that funds had been transferred by mistake and, in some cases, for authorised development work.
The SRA was represented by Capsticks barrister David Collins. Guise, who is representing himself, began his cross-examination this afternoon. He denies wrongdoing.
The hearing is expected to end next Monday.
19 January update: Guise continued his cross-examination of witnesses today.