A former paralegal has been barred from the legal profession having already been fined £300 for illegally taking client information.

James Pickles, who worked as a paralegal at Jordans Solicitors in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, was prosecuted last September for taking information about more than 100 people before leaving for a rival firm in 2013.

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court heard that Pickles had hoped to use the information, which included workload lists, file notes and template documents, in his new role.    

Due to the nature of his criminal conviction the Solicitors Regulation Authority last week took the decision that it is ‘undesirable’ for him to work in the legal profession. 

He may not be employed in any solicitor’s practice or by any solicitor without SRA permission in the future.

His prosecution prompted the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to warn employees that taking personal information of their employer when changing jobs is a criminal offence.

'Employees may think work-related documents that they have produced or worked on belong to them and so they are entitled to take them when they leave. But if they include people’s details, then taking them without permission is breaking the law. Don’t risk a day in court,' Stephen Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, said last September. 

According to Eckersley, the information Pickles took included 'sensitive details relating to individuals involved in ongoing legal proceedings'.