A judge has apologised after the sentencing of a former solicitor convicted of fraud was adjourned following a listing issue.

Analiza Kjaer, 50, appeared in the Central Criminal Court today after she was convicted at Croydon Magistrates Court of a single charge of fraud by abuse of position. The former solicitor was due to be sentenced but her case was wrongly listed before a judge who was not due to be in the building.

Kjaer, admitted in April 2005 and struck off in 2022, was instructed to act in divorce proceedings in 2020. A £132,000 settlement was paid into the firm’s account in three equal instalments. Kjaer failed to transfer the money to the client, who reported her to the police, Action Fraud and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Kjaer used a proportion of money for personal and business expenses including making withdrawals, paying a loan debt and a self-assessment tax bill to HMRC. The court heard £64,000 was left in the client account.

The SRA intervened into Kjaer’s practice and Able Law in June 2021. The client received £132,000 from the Compensation Fund plus interest to cover her loss.

His Honour Judge Simon Mayo KC said: ‘About an hour ago it became apparent the judge was not due to be in the building today. [I have] been asked by the list office if I would deal with this case in some way. I was invited to consider whether I might feel able to at the 11th hour to take over this case and deal with it by way of a sentencing hearing today.

‘I took the trouble to look at some of the material on the digital case system. This is a serious case, one that is not entirely straightforward. Both psychiatric reports and pre-sentence reports have been prepared, both parties have submitted notes for sentence. None of that material have I had the opportunity to look at or digest.

‘It is an unsatisfactory state of affairs if a judge is going to be asked to take a sentencing hearing.’

The judge explained he would need time to ‘read and reflect’ on the case material before listening to submissions. He described the case as ‘important for the public and the defendant’ adding he ‘would be prepared to set everything aside that I have to do today and read all this material and, at some point this afternoon, come back’.

Counsel availability meant an afternoon return was not feasible.

The judge said: ‘None of this is satisfactory…I recognise that.’

Adjourning the sentencing until next week and reserving it to a judge already aware of the case, the judge spoke directly to Kjaer.

He said: ‘Analiza Kjaer, you heard what has been said. You are formerly a solicitor so I know you will understand what has been said. I am very sorry the hearing cannot go ahead today. I hope you understand why I was reluctant to continue today.

‘Your counsel are not available this afternoon, trying to do [the sentencing] myself today would be impossible because there would not be time to read all the material that I have to read overnight.’

He added: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, although it is the most unfortunate circumstance, I am simply not indicating that anybody in particular is at fault.

‘The fact of the matter is even in the best run organisations occasionally mistakes are made and that unfortunately seems to have happened here. Although I have described the circumstances, the case was listed before another judge here, I am not for one moment suggesting she is at fault.’