• Application 11660-2017
• Admitted 2004
• Hearing 31 October 2017
• Reasons 20 November 2017
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for three months from 20 November 2017.
Upon the expiry of that term of suspension, the respondent should be subject to the following conditions for two years: that he might not practise as a sole practitioner or sole manager or sole owner of an authorised or recognised body; be a partner or member of any limited liability partnership, legal disciplinary practice or alternative business structure or other authorised or recognised body; be a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration; hold client money; act as signatory to any office or client account or have the power to authorise transfers from any client or office account, electronic or otherwise; and, during the two-year restriction period, he must inform any actual or prospective employer of those conditions and the reason for their imposition.
The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure.
The respondent had instructed and/or permitted the improper transfer(s) of money from the firm’s client account to the firm’s office account otherwise than in accordance with rule 20.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, and in doing so had acted contrary to principles 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011.
The reputation of the profession had been harmed as a result of the respondent’s conduct because he had not treated client money properly. He had been cavalier in his approach to the residual balances.
A suspension of three months would send a message to the profession about the importance of the proper stewardship of client money. The imposition of restrictions upon the respondent’s practice for a period of two years upon the expiry of the period of suspension would be adequate to protect the public.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £17,898.