A struck off solicitor who missed his tribunal hearing after having surgery to remove a growth in his head has been denied a rehearing by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Parvez Akther was struck off in January 2019 after all allegations against him were found proved, including an allegation of dishonesty. Akther was not present at the hearing, nor was he represented.
According to the tribunal’s memorandum of application, less than two hours into the original hearing the tribunal received a letter from Akther in which he sought an adjournment on the grounds he had undergone surgery the previous month. The application to adjourn was refused and the tribunal continued to hear the case in his absence.
In the March after he was struck off, Akther sought to challenge the SDT’s findings in the High Court. His appeal was rejected on 19 July. Earlier in July, he had filed an application at the SDT.
According to solicitors’ rules on disciplinary proceedings, respondents may apply for a rehearing within 14 days of an order being filed with the Law Society. Akther applied almost five months after the order had been filed.
Akther claimed he had not attended the original hearing because surgery had left him 'woolly headed'. He said he had suffered a further health set-back in April and was admitted to hospital.
When he ‘began to feel better’ in May he realised his application for judicial review had been ‘premature’ and that he should have applied to the tribunal for a rehearing instead.
The tribunal found that Akther was made aware of the application deadline and that there was ‘no medical evidence’ to prove he ‘did not have the wherewithal to take in what was required of him’. It added that Akther ‘had enough cognition to instruct counsel to pursue a claim for judicial review on his behalf’.
The tribunal concluded that ‘no sufficient reason had been advanced for the delay’ and consequently dismissed the application. Akther was ordered to pay costs of £5,550.