A commercial litigator who settled a claim without telling his client and later threatened an investigator from the Solicitors Regulation Authority has been struck off the roll.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found Anjan Dhiru Patel had been ‘deliberately intimidatory’ with clients and acted against their interests to ensure payment to himself and his firm.
His subsequent contact with the SRA took a ‘threatening nature’ and was ‘unacceptable and completely inappropriate’. The tribunal found Patel tried to intimidate an SRA officer, boasting he was ‘genius level talent’, the ‘best litigator in the City’ and that he would ‘end the SRA’.
Patel, admitted in 1998, spent 10 years with London firm Neumans. He was a consultant specialising in commercial litigation and was paid a percentage of the fees. After the firm was closed down by the SRA on unrelated matters, he spent almost two years as consultant and head of commercial litigation at Cubism Law, which itself collapsed in 2019.
The tribunal heard that in 2013 Patel had settled litigation for a client and had a direct financial interest in the subsequent costs claim. It was alleged he sent an offer to opposing solicitors to settle the costs claim for more than £2m without telling his client and without saying there had been a counter-offer. Patel said he believed he had full authority to settle claims for costs and that the proposed costs settlement was in the client’s best interests.
The tribunal found Patel had a direct financial interest in the settlement and he acted against his client’s best interest by taking decisions without consultation. The tribunal further found that Patel waited two months to tell the client the claim had been settled.
After his move to Cubism Law, Patel was charged with making improper threats to an SRA officer handling the investigation into him. He was said to have told this officer that ‘Your career was going up and now you are about to get smashed’, and later threatened to sue for misfeasance. He accused the SRA of lying and at one point told the officer: ‘You are digging your own grave’, before making further threats via email.
Patel admitted he had been frustrated and reacted badly to the situation and what he saw as unfairness towards him. He was ordered to pay £30,000 in costs as well as being struck off.