A solicitor who practised as a sole practitioner for up to 12 years despite failing to get authorisation from the regulator or taking out indemnity insurance has been struck off.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) said Peter Rollin, admitted almost 50 years ago, had ‘acted without integrity for a very lengthy period’. The SDT published an agreed outcome this week noting that Rollin had admitted serious professional misconduct. Costs were agreed at £5,000.
Sole practitioners are required to be recognised bodies as part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Recognised Bodies Regulations 2009.
Since the introduction of those regulations all new sole practioners have had to apply to become recognised as such and all those already registered were automatically passported over. As Rollin had not applied to become sole practitioner he was not capable of being passported, the judgment noted.
‘The respondent was either ignorant of these rules or simply ignored them,’ the agreed outcome said.
Rollin, who is 76 this year, claimed he kept abreast of ’all legal matters’ by reading the Law Society Gazette. According to the judgment, the SRA identified four articles in the Gazette relating to the need for sole practitioners to be authorised/recognised.
On indemnity insurance, the judgment noted that Rollin practised in high risk areas such as conveyancing and probate, and wills which would have ‘no doubt’ resulted in the payment of high insurance premiums.
Rollin accepted that he should have registered his practice and applied to become a recognised sole practitioner. ‘He should have taken out indemnity insurance and accepts he has no excuse for not doing so,’ the outcome added.
Despite acting without integrity the outcome noted that no client had ever initiated a claim against Rollin or his firm during his time in practice or subsequently.