A solicitor has been fined after inadvertently trying to charge his relatives an extra fee for handling their conveyancing transaction.

An SRA decision notice stated that Atholl Taylor, formerly a consultant solicitor with south Yorkshire practice Parker Rhodes Hickmotts, had acted for the couple in 2018 and emailed them explaining that the firm levied a 0.25% fee on residential sales over £1million.

In the same email, he said he had discussed the issue with the managing partner of the firm and agreed to reduce his fee from £3,000 to £2,000.

In fact, the firm did not have a policy of levying fees on £1m+ sales and Taylor had not discussed the issue of costs with the managing partner.

Taylor told the SRA that he had personal and medical issues around the time of the misconduct. His actions were not deliberate: he had a policy of levying fees and was referring to this in his letter. He apologised to the managing partner for referring to a meeting which did not take place. He said he had shown insight and remorse and that the clients and firm did not suffer any financial loss.

In a separate case, Taylor was also found to have failed to disclose to a lender-client the existence of a deed of trust that showed a third party had an equitable interest in a property. He had believed this disclosure was not necessary because the trust deed was a family arrangement.

The SRA said Taylor showed a ‘reckless disregard’ of his regulatory obligations and that nature of his misconduct was high, albeit the impact was low. The regulator imposed a £2,000 fine, which it said was ‘towards the bottom of the bracket to be appropriate’. Taylor must also pay £300 costs.