A High Court battle between the Solicitors Regulation Authority and solicitor Soophia Khan over contempt allegations continues after a judge today agreed to let Khan make a fresh bid to set aside orders made last September in relation to client files.
Khan, a former chair of the Law Society civil justice committee, was automatically suspended in August after the SRA intervened in relation to her Leicester practice Sophie Khan & Co over suspicions of dishonesty. She later announced that the firm had been taken over by a charity called Just For Public Ltd.
The SRA, which obtained an injunction in November to stop Khan ‘unlawfully’ acting as a lawyer through JFP, alleged that Khan was in contempt by failing to comply with two High Court orders requiring her to deliver up client files.
At a committal hearing on 17 December, Mr Justice Leech reserved judgment after being told that Khan had offered to undertake to comply with the orders.
Mr Justice Leech was due to hand down judgment today. However, the court heard at the start of today’s hearing that Khan had made an application on 30 December to set aside an order made on 21 September.
Fountain Court Chambers’ Rupert Allen, for the SRA, told the court that Khan had been aware of the 21 September order for more than three months. Despite applying to set aside an order made on 7 September, ‘she made no such application in relation to the 21 September order’ and described the latest application as ‘misconceived’.
However, Mr Justice Leech said: ‘Even at this 11th hour it would be harsh for me to refuse to hear her application.'
Mr Justice Leech said he was prepared to hear Khan’s applications given he was dealing with a committal application and a threat to her liberty. He adjourned the hearing until next week.