The Solicitors Regulation Authority has barred a number of non-solicitors in the past week after findings of dishonesty.
The separate cases all resulted in the same sanction: a section 43 order which prevents non-solicitors from working for any regulated firms. All have been published in the last week.
The cases included legal executive Elaine Marshall, from West Midlands firm Waldrons Solicitors Ltd, who was dismissed following her attempts to cover up a mistake on a personal injury matter.
The SRA said Marshall had created a court claim form and a court order and misled her client and colleagues as to the true nature of the settlement. She then paid £1,200 from her own funds to increase settlement, but when her employers became suspicious she admitted to forging documents and acting dishonestly.
Kathryn Thomas, a paralegal in the debt recovery team of Guildford firm Lovetts Limited, was found to have failed to progress a client matter and, when questioned about it she created and backdated letters to pretend it was progressing. The SRA said she lied to her client and employer and deleted correspondence on the client’s file in breach of her firm’s procedures. Thomas resigned in September 2018 and is not currently working.
Hafiz Mohammed, a paralegal in the immigration department of Ahmad & Williams Solicitors in Birmingham, was dismissed for gross misconduct in October 2018 after taking money from clients intended for application fees and legal costs.
He had not made the application and not returned the money to his clients, and was found to have misled both his clients and the firm.
Fiona Tegg, a legal secretary/assistant at Reading practice Turpin and Miller, was barred after misappropriating £342 from the firm, after fabricating a bank receipt. She also failed to repay a salary overpayment of £300.
As well as the section 43 order, she was fined £2,000, given a written rebuke and ordered to pay £600 costs. Tegg was dismissed in June 2018 for gross misconduct after almost four years with the firm.
Finally, Mohammed Khan, a paralegal with Blackburn firm Harwood Solicitors Limited for two years, provided his personal bank account details on one occasion to the other side’s solicitors and on another to the other side’s insurance company in two separate matters. The insurance company retained the bank details and made five further payments to Khan in error. Money was paid into his personal bank account as a result and he has not reimbursed the firm or insurance company for the payments.
Last September, Khan was convicted at Preston Crown Court of three offences of dishonestly making false representations for self-gain. In January, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity.