A male solicitor who punched a female colleague in the face at a pre-Christmas social occasion has been rebuked by the regulator.

In an agreed settlement notice published yesterday, the Solicitors Regulation Authority said Richard Lacey, a former member of Liverpool firm Parry Welch Lacey LLP, had struck his colleague at a party in the city centre in December 2015.

He subsequently attended a police station for a voluntary interview and in May 2016 accepted a conditional caution for assault by beating. The conditions of the caution were to write a letter of apology to his victim and pay her compensation of £150.

Lacey admitted, and the SRA accepted, that by committing the offence and accepting the caution he had failed to uphold the rule of law and failed to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public placed in him.

The SRA said his behaviour was considered deliberate or reckless and the agreed outcome was in the public interest. Publishing the agreement was in the interests of transparency in the regulatory and disciplinary process.

Lacey explained that he was dealing with some difficult personal circumstances at the time, which he believes had an impact on his conduct. He agreed to pay the SRA’s £600 costs.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the SRA has also rebuked Peter McLintock, a partner at the Birmingham office of national firm Mills & Reeve.

McLintock admitted to breaching client confidentiality by sending an email to a third party in June 2015, in breach of three SRA principles. He was given a written rebuke and ordered to pay £600 costs.