A trainee solicitor has been removed from the profession after trying to pass off a faulty document as having been replaced.

Thomas David Barnes, a trainee with Norwich firm MJP Conveyancing Limited, had admitted acting dishonestly in the course of a property purchase and was subsequently banned from working in the profession by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 

Barnes was supposed to get a new notice of assignment signed by a managing agent on a change of ownership form. The issue had arisen after the original signed notice contained a wrong name.

But instead of getting a fresh notice signed, Barnes amended the name on the receipted copy of the original and served it directly on the landlord.

When the discrepancy was flagged up, Barnes denied having amended the original notice and claimed it had been backdated by the managing agent. The firm investigated further and Barnes then accepted he had amended the notice. No detriment was caused to either party to the transaction.

The SRA’s decision notice states that the firm issued Barnes with a formal and final written warning.

But the regulator has now ruled that Barnes can no longer work for any regulated firm without its permission, under a section 43 order. The order states that he displayed a lack of integrity and acted dishonestly. The firm confirmed that Barnes was no longer in its employ. 

Barnes, who must also pay £300 in costs, said in mitigation that he had learned from the experience and would not repeat it.