In what may be the first disciplinary decision of its kind, a cleaner has been banned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority from working in a law firm without the regulator's permission.
A decision published by the regulator yesterday states that in May 2012 the High Court entered judgment against Murugan Gopalan (formerly known as Rajagopal Murugananthan) for the sum of £37,779.14 in favour of Harrow Solicitors & Advocates.
Gopalan, whose last known address was Moseley Avenue, Coventry, was employed as a cleaner by the firm and received the money, which was misappropriated by another employee at the firm.
The decision states that Gopalan, 32, who is or was involved in a legal practice but not as a solicitor, was ‘party to an act in relation to a legal practice which involved conduct on his part of such a nature that in the opinion of the [Law] Society it would be undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice in any of the ways described in the [order]’.
The section 43 order states that:
‘(i) no solicitor shall employ or remunerate Murugan Gopalan (date of birth 22 July 1982) formerly known as Rajagopal Murugananthan, whose last known address was 113 Moseley Avenue, Coventry, CV6 1HS in connection with his/her practice as a solicitor;
(ii) no employee of a solicitor shall employ or remunerate him in connection with the solicitor’s practice;
(iii) no recognised body shall employ or remunerate him;
(iv) no manager or employee of a recognised body shall employ or remunerate him in connection with the business of that body;
(v) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit him to be a manager of the body; and
(vi) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit him to have an interest in the body except in accordance with a Society permission.’