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This is an interesting development given the recent changes in the test for dishonesty. If, as I expect, the courts do away with the formal distinction between integrity and dishonesty, this decision leaves us with a situation where there are differing levels of dishonesty.

A case such as this is seen as 'only a little' dishonest, whereas full blown fraud will be 'most' dishonest.

Is that really a situation that we want, where solicitors are allowed to be a 'little bit dishonest'? Or do we want to be able to say that dishonesty is the most serious offence for a solicitor and will invariably lead to a strike off.

Was it not possible for the panel to instead conclude that a reasonably well informed member of the public would not find her conduct dishonest as a result of the extreme pressure that she was under. But that ultimately her behaviour was still a breach of the SRA Rules (eg maintaining trust in the profession).

If they weren't convinced by that argument then maybe that would suggest that the case was serious enough to warrant strike off.

I have great sympathy for the individual involved and regardless of whether I agree with the rationale of the decision, I personally applaud the outcome. But it does open the door for huge debate as to how dishonest you have to be to warrant strike-off and there will be some cases that are far more controversial than this that do not result in strike off.

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