A solicitor suspended for replicating his boss’s signature on a reaccreditation application form is appealing the decision, it has emerged.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal stated that Peter Maxfield Martin is challenging the order made in August to ban him for a year. The order remains in force pending the High Court’s decision.
It is not yet known if Martin is appealing the finding of dishonesty against him or the resulting sanction. The tribunal had opted against striking him off as the solicitor was found to be under particular pressures at the time of his misconduct and that the false declaration took just a ‘matter of moments’.
Martin, admitted in 1989, had been with South Wales firm Gomer Williams & Co Limited at the time of incident. The tribunal had heard that he submitted his application for reaccreditation to the mental health panel of solicitors and required a senior person’s signature. The application form included the signature of a director with the firm who had neither seen the document nor signed it.
Martin had submitted that he received consent to act as he did and had been told by this director to ‘just get it done’. The tribunal found that, although he had implied authority to fill in the declaration, he knew that authority for this could not be delegated.
The solicitor was also charged with emailing his firm after his dismissal in September 2018 asking them to withdraw misconduct allegations. This, he accepted, was ‘entirely inappropriate’.
Martin was suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £9,525 costs.
A hearing date for the appeal has yet to be listed.