Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Peter Ejokwoye Otto
Hearings 11-20 January, 29-30 March and 15 April 2021
Reasons 28 June 2021
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £10,000.
While in practice as a sole practitioner at Peter Otto & Co Solicitors of 2nd Floor, 151 Rye Lane, Peckham, London SE15 4TL, the respondent had entered into an arrangement in family proceedings, whereby his fees were made conditional on client A winning her case and which further provided for a share in the reward received (15%) and had proceeded to take action against client A for his costs, when such an arrangement was not enforceable by statute, thereby breaching principles 4 and 6 of the 2011 SRA Principles, and failing to achieve outcome 1.6 of the 2011 SRA Code of Conduct.
He had facilitated three loans for client A from a third party in the total sum of £60,000 without ensuring client A’s interests were protected through the giving of advice by restricting the client retainer, thereby breaching principles 4 and 6.
He had acted where there was a conflict or significant risk of a conflict between clients A and B in acting for client B in seeking recovery of the loans he had facilitated between clients A and B, thereby breaching principles 2, 4 and 6 and failing to achieve outcomes 3.5 and 4.4 of the code.
The respondent’s conduct had caused harm to client A, who would have considered that she was liable to pay monies to which the respondent was not lawfully entitled, and that he would take enforcement action against her to recover those monies.
However, client A had not suffered any financial harm, and the respondent had not taken enforcement action, nor was there any evidence that the respondent, while acting where there was a conflict, had breached client A’s confidentiality.
A financial penalty of £10,000 was the appropriate and proportionate sanction that adequately reflected the seriousness of the respondent’s misconduct.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £29,000.
Hawksleys Law Limited
On 18 August 2021, the Adjudication Panel resolved to intervene into Hawksleys Law Limited (trading as Claas Solicitors) and into the practice of Rebecca Hawksley at the firm. The firm was based at 5 Minster Court, Tuscam Way, Camberley GU15 3YY and had a branch office at Lenta Space, 175-177 Borough High Street, London SE1 1HR. The first date of attendance was 23 August 2021.
The grounds for intervention into Rebecca Hawksley were:
- Ms Hawksley had failed to comply with rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (paragraph 1(1)(c) of Schedule 1 – Part I to the solicitors Act 1974).
- It was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients or former clients (paragraph 1(1)(m) Schedule 1 – Part I Solicitors Act 1974).
The grounds for intervention into Hawksleys Law Ltd were:
- Mr Bhandal and Mrs Hawksley as managers of the firm and the firm itself, had failed to comply with rules applicable to them under section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 (paragraph 32(1)(a) of Schedule 2 to that act).
- It was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients (or former or potential clients), or the interests of the beneficiaries of any trust of which the firm is or was a trustee, or the interests of the beneficiaries of any trust of which a person who is or was a manager or employee of the firm is or was a trustee in that person’s capacity as such a manager or employee (paragraph 32(1)(e) of Schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985).
Michael Veal 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.
Ms Hawksley’s practising certificate was suspended as a result of the intervention decision.
Sophie Khan & Co Limited and Soophia Khan
The SRA has intervened into Sophie Khan & Co Limited and into the practice of Soophia Khan at the firm, of Portland House, 9 Portland Towers, Leicester LE22PG.This decision was made by the panel.
The grounds of intervention in relation to Soophia Khan were:
- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on Soophia Khan’s part in connection with her practice as a solicitor (paragraph 1(1)(a)(i) of Schedule 1 – Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974).
- There had been a failure by Soophia Khan to comply with rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act (paragraph 1(1)(c) of Schedule 1 – Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974).
The grounds of intervention in relation to Sophie Khan & Co Ltd were:
- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Soophia Khan, 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).
- Soophia Khan, 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 by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 (as amended) (paragraph 32(1)(a) of Schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985).
John Owen of Gordons LLP, 1 New Augustus Street, Bradford BD1 5LL, tel: 0113 227 2116; email: email@example.com; has been appointed as the Society’s agent.