Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Victoria Ellouise Whelan
Hearing 26 February 2021
Reasons 4 March 2021
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice as a solicitor for six months from 26 February 2021.
The respondent had sent an email to claimant A which falsely stated that ‘it would appear that an email sent yesterday at 4pm was blocked by firewall due to the size of the attachment…’ when she had not sent any such email to him but had sent it in error to an unrelated third party, B, thereby breaching principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. She had acted dishonestly.
The parties had invited the SDT to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and outcome.
The respondent had reported her actions in full a little over an hour after she had sent the misleading email. She had fully admitted what she had done and had co-operated fully with the investigation by the firm and by the SRA.
She had acted in a ‘moment of madness’, as an inexperienced lawyer who had almost immediately realised the gravity of her error, and had taken full responsibility for it. She had not benefited from her actions and had been struggling with personal difficulties, which had clearly contributed significantly to her serious error of judgment.
Those circumstances, taken together, were exceptional and related directly to the dishonesty. It would therefore be disproportionate to strike the respondent from the roll in the present case.
The misconduct was still very serious however, and the proposed sanction of a suspension was entirely appropriate. The SDT therefore agreed to dispose of the matter in the manner proposed in the Statement of Agreed Facts and Outcome.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £5,000.
Kwan Yiu Ho (AKA Junius Kwan-Yiu Ho)
Hearing 14-18 December 2020
Reasons 17 February 2021
The SDT ordered that the allegations against the respondent should be dismissed.
The respondent was a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong and was admitted as a solicitor in Singapore. At the material time the respondent was in professional legal practice in Hong Kong. In addition to his professional practice, the respondent was an active participant in Hong Kong politics.
The allegations related to a public meeting held on 17 September 2017 and material made public by the respondent via Facebook between 17 and 19 September 2017. It was alleged that the respondent had made remarks supporting the incitement of violence against political opponents which supported and reinforced comments made by another person, and which breached principle 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
However, in the particular circumstances of the case, on the balance of the evidence presented, the respondent’s comments did not begin to do so.
The SDT ordered that there be no order as to costs.
JP Legal Law
The adjudication panel resolved to intervene into JP Legal Law, the sole practice of Jakub Wojciech Pawlak of 85 Wellington Road South, Stockport SK1 3SL.
The grounds of intervention were:
- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Pawlak in connection with his practice, which is or was a business carried on by him as a sole trader (paragraph 5(3)(ba)(ii) of Schedule 14 – Part II to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990).
- Pawlak had failed to comply with the SRA Accounts Rules, which are rules made under section 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (paragraph 5(3)(c) of Schedule 14 – Part II to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990).
- It was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of Pawlak’s clients (or former or potential clients) (paragraph 5(3)(j) of Schedule 14 – Part II to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990).
Sean Joyce of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan, Greater Manchester WN3 5BA; email: email@example.com; tel: 03333214402; has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent.
Cree Godfrey & Wood
On 24 March 2021, the panel resolved to intervene into Cree Godfrey & Wood and into the practice of George Edward Nosworthy at the firm, which was based at 28 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 9PJ. The first date of attendance was 25 March 2021.
The grounds of intervention in relation to Nosworthy were:
- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on Nosworthy’s part in connection with his practice as a solicitor (paragraph 1(1)(a)(i) of Schedule 1 – Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974).
- Nosworthy had failed to comply with rules (paragraph 1(1)(c) of Schedule 1 – Part to the Solicitors Act 1974).
The grounds of intervention in relation to Cree Godfrey & Wood were:
- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Nosworthy, as a manager of the firm, in connection with the firm’s business (paragraph 32(1)(d)(i) of Schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985).
- Nosworthy as a manager of the firm, and the firm itself, had failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011 and 2019 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and 2019, which are rules applicable to them both by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 (paragraph 32(1)(a) of Schedule 2 to that act).
Chris Evans of Lester Aldridge, Russell House, Oxford Road, Bournemouth BH8 8EX; tel: 01202 786341; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent.
Nosworthy’s practising certificate was suspended as a result of the intervention decision.