A solicitor accused of previously misleading the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal was today fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs despite the SDT’s dismissal of the majority of claimed breaches against him.

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal sign

Source: Michael Cross

Richard Gregory Barca, admitted in 1986 and a manager at Wilson Barca LLP, was accused of not stopping his lawyer from making submissions that the Solicitors Regulation Authority alleged to be misleading. He was also alleged to have entered into eight individual financial arrangements or given loans to clients where there was an own-interest conflict or significant risk of one.

Those loans follow the deal at the centre of a 2019 hearing, for which Barca was fined £20,000.

Barca previously made admissions to parts of the allegations against him but denied dishonesty and recklessness. In relation to one allegation centred on own interest conflict or a significant risk of conflict, Barca admitted a significant risk but not an actual conflict in the cases of three clients.

The panel delivered its findings at midday today after the case was concluded the day before.

It found breach of Principle 6 proved relating to two clients and accepted Barca’s admission in relation to a third. It also found the allegation that Barca had entered into financial arrangements with existing clients where there was an own-interest conflict or a significant risk of one proved in full in relation to Principle 2 of the 2011 Principles and Outcome 3.4 of the 2011 code.

All other breaches were not proved and allegations of dishonesty and recklessness were also not proved.

Speaking on possible sanctions, Geoffrey Williams KC, for Barca, said his client 'a hardworking solicitor, a good solicitor, he is technically very able. He is very popular with his clients. He is certainly not a risk to the public and I am instructed in clear terms to offer a profound apology from Mr Barca for the breaches found against him.

‘He had made certain admissions and given evidence as best as he could. He is very contrite and as you would expect me to say, nothing like this will happen again. I go further than that. Mr Barca appreciates the concerns you will have about him given this is the second effective appearance, this case should be deal with by way of a financial penalty and a restriction order preventing Mr Barca from entering into any financial arrangements with clients or former clients.’

Giving their order as to sanctions, the panel ordered Barca to pay a £30,000 fine and costs of £20,000.