• Application 11624-2017

• Hearing 4 October 2017

• Reasons 4 October 2017

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 1997) should be suspended from practice for 12 months from 4 October 2017, upon the expiry of which he should be subject to the following conditions for 12 months: that he might not act as a sole practitioner, manager or owner of any authorised or recognised body or authorised non-SRA firm; act as a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration for any sole practitioner, authorised body or authorised non-SRA firm; hold, receive or have access to client money, or act as a signatory to any client or office account, or have the power to authorise electronic transfers from any client or office account; and that he should immediately inform any actual or prospective employer of those conditions and the reasons for their imposition.

The SDT ordered that the second respondent (admitted 1990) should pay a fine of £20,000, and that he should be subject to the following conditions for 12 months: that he might not act as a sole practitioner, manager or owner of any authorised or recognised body or authorised non-SRA firm; act as a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration for any sole practitioner, authorised body or authorised non-SRA firm; hold, receive or have access to client money, or act as a signatory to any client or office account, or have the power to authorise electronic transfers from any client or office account; and that he should immediately inform any actual or prospective employer of those conditions and the reasons for their imposition.

The SDT granted the first and second respondents’ application for the matter to be dealt with under the agreed outcome procedure, and directed that the present judgment should not be published until the conclusion of the proceedings against the third, fourth and fifth respondents.

The first and second respondents, while directors at Frisby Solicitors Limited, had acted in breach of rules 19 and 21 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998, rules 17.1 and 19.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, rules 1.04, 1.05 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 and principles 4, 5, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011.

They had acted in breach of rule 7 of the 1998 rules, rule 7 of the rules and principle 7.

They had acted in breach of rule 5.01 of the 2007 code and of principles 8 and 10, and had failed to achieve outcomes 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 10.3 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2011.

They had acted in breach of rule 1.02 of the 2007 code and of principle 2.

The first respondent had had direct control and responsibility for the misconduct which was deliberate, calculated and repeated over a number of years.

The second respondent had not been involved in the day-to-day financial management of the firm. Although he was not the architect of the misconduct he had been aware of it and had directed it on occasion.

The respondents were each ordered to pay costs of £10,610.