A sole practitioner whose accounting mistakes cost the legal profession more than £100,000 was today struck off the roll.
Victoria Louise Robinson, who operated from premises in Sheffield until she was shut down in 2014, transferred thousands of pounds from client accounts to the office account over several months, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard.
The hearing, which Robinson did not attend, also heard that Solicitors Regulation Authority investigators initially uncovered a £93,000 shortfall in the client account when they went in to check the books.
The tribunal heard that Robinson made transfers in a ‘confused state’ due to the influence of alcohol. On one occasion in November 2013, she mistakenly transferred £30,000 from the client account to the office account rather than the £3,000 she had intended.
She made two payments for holidays, coming to £7,500 in total, from the office account knowing there was insufficient funds to cover the expense.
In January 2014, two unauthorised payments amounting to £35,000 were made from the client account. Robinson said she had lent her iPad to a third party, but failed to change the settings on the device to prevent them accessing client accounts online.
The tribunal heard she failed to refund the shortfall in the client account, and indeed had struggled to keep records of accounts at all.
The compensation fund, paid for by contributions from solicitors, has so far paid out £231,000 in grant to former clients, with the SRA recovering around £128,000 from the client account.
Robinson admitted six charges relating to breaches of accounts rules, with a further allegation of dishonesty dropped.
She was removed from the roll and ordered to pay £12,500 in SRA costs.