Hearing 22 August 2018
Reasons 18 September 2018
The SDT ordered the respondent to pay a fine of £3,000.
The respondent had failed to pay and/or delayed in paying professional disbursements which had been paid to his firm by the Legal Aid Agency in 2014, totalling £11,898.60, to various experts in breach of principles 6 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011 and rule 19.2(c) of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.
The respondent had delayed in sending a client file to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for a period of 14 months between 4 March 2015 and 10 May 2016 in breach of principles 4 and 6.
The respondent had failed to deliver accountant’s reports to the SRA for the periods November 2012 to October 2013 and November 2013 to October 2014, and had failed to deliver a cease-to-hold accountant’s report within six months of ceasing to hold client money in breach of principles 6 and 7, and rules 32.1 and 33.5 of the 2011 rules.
The matter was dealt by way of the agreed outcome procedure.
The SDT was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made. He had admitted moderately serious professional misconduct and his culpability was high.
In all the circumstances the SDT accepted the assessment made by the parties of the appropriate sanction and approved their proposal.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,029.
Harry Francis Cottam practising as Cottams Solicitors Ltd
On 18 October the adjudication panel of the SRA resolved to intervene into the above-named practice of Harry Francis Cottam, practising as Cottams Solicitors Ltd, and into the recognised body, Cottams Solicitors Ltd, at 1102 Stratford Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 8AD.
The grounds of intervention into Mr Cottam were
- reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Harry Cottam; and
- failure to comply with rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended).
The grounds of intervention into Cottams Solicitors Ltd were:
- there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Mr Cottam as a manager of Cottams Solicitors Ltd; and
- Harry Francis Cottam as a manager of Cottams Solicitors Ltd and the firm itself had failed to comply with the rules applicable to them by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985.
Mr Cottam’s practising certificate has been suspended as a result of the intervention.
The SRA has instructed Marion Vesey of Shacklocks LLP as the intervention agent. She can be contacted at: Shacklocks LLP, St Peter’s House, Bridge Street, Mansfield NG18 1AL, DX: 723580 Mansfield, tel: 01623 423073, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.