The Solicitors Regulation Authority today confirmed it is prosecuting top-100 firm Howard Kennedy - and four individuals - for alleged breaches of accounts rules.
The regulator alleges that the London firm committed breaches of the rules from 2009 to early 2015, and for the last three years of that period failed to put in place adequate measures to prevent rule breaches.
The allegations are not related to the misappropriation or misapplication of client money, the SRA said.
A further allegation is that from April 2012 the firm was aware that an employee had breached accounts rules but failed to report it until February 2015.
In separate notices, the SRA confirms it is prosecuting the firm’s head of development and projects Mark Johnstone, partners Paul Amandini and Eric Gummers and Christopher Langford, former managing partner of City firm Amhurst Brown Colombotti before it merged with Howard Kennedy in 2003.
Gummers is alleged to have committed accounts rules breaches between 2011 and 2014, and separate accounts rules breaches between 2011 and 2015 whilst acting in a second matter which concerned a family settlement of which he was a beneficiary.
Langford faces three charges: accounts rules breaches between 2009 and 2012; separate breaches between 2012 and 2015 and thereby breaching three SRA principles; and from November 2013 rendering professional services to a client as a solicitor whilst also being the sole shareholder of a company which was receiving remuneration from that client for services rendered to him otherwise than in course of legal practice.
Amandini is alleged to have breached accounts rules between 2011 and 2014, while Johnstone is charged with breaches dated from April 2014 to July 2014.
The allegations are subject to a hearing before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and are as yet unproven. The firm declined to comment.