Failure to send a client care letter is among allegations that have led a Bolton firm and one of its former solicitors to be hauled before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Decisions published on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s website state that the tribunal certifies there is a case to answer in respect of allegations that Cain & Cochran Solicitors Limited ‘failed to operate an adequate system for the supervision of an employee solicitor's matters’ and ‘failed to provide a good standard of service to clients’ due to the actions of former employee Joseph Paul Gill.
A separate decision for Gill states that he allegedly failed to send a client care letter to his client, resulting in his client being unaware of his potential liability for counsel’s fees in his case.
Other allegations against Gill published by the regulator are:
- On 3 February 2014 he allegedly represented to a director of his employer that he had emailed a client care letter on 27 December 2013 when he had not done so. He produced a client care letter dated 27 December 2013 and covering email of the same date, which he claimed had been sent on that date, when no such email or client care letter had been sent.
- On 29 January 2014, he stated in correspondence to an employment tribunal that further and better particulars of his client claim had been sent to the respondent in his case, when in fact such particulars had not been sent to the respondent.
- On 19 November 2013 he represented to the solicitor acting for the respondent in a case that he had sent an impact statement to that solicitor on 8 November 2013, when in fact he had not done so, and knew that he had not done so.
- On 14 January 2014 he failed without good reason to attend a judicial mediation on behalf of his client, which had been ordered by an employment tribunal.
- He failed to comply with an employment tribunal’s order made on 23 January 2014 requiring his client to file further particulars of his claim within one week of receipt of the order, which failure resulted in his client’s claim being struck out.
- He failed to provide, within a reasonable time or at all, advice required by his client.
- He failed to take reasonable steps to protect the interests of his client, in the absence of detailed instructions from his client, and in particular failed to attend a preliminary hearing in relation to his client's case on 28 January 2014 of which he was aware, or ought reasonably to have been aware.
- He failed to inform either the client, or his employer, that the client’s claim was struck out on 28 January 2014.
The SRA’s decisions state that the allegations are subject to a tribunal hearing and ‘are as yet unproven’.
Cain & Cochran Solicitors told the Gazette: ‘It was the firm that filed the report with the SRA in respect of the matters that the [regulator] was investigating that have now been referred.’
The SRA’s decision states that Gill works at Guildford firm Setford Law Ltd. However, when contacted by the Gazette, the firm said he no longer worked there.
Meanwhile, in a separate and unrelated decision published by the regulator on the same day, a law firm partner received a written rebuke for disclosing a client’s address to a third party without consent.
David Jonathan Howarth, a partner at Worcestershire firm Painters Solicitors, was directed to pay a £500 financial penalty and ordered to pay costs of £600.
Howarth has been asked to comment.