Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Musharaf Javid Asharaf
Hearing 21-23 November 2023
Reasons 5 December 2023
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for 12 months from 23 November 2023. Upon the expiry of that term of suspension, he would be subject to the following condition imposed by the SDT: that he might not act as a supervisor or manager of a limited liability partnership, legal disciplinary practice or alternative business structure or other authorised or recognised body, with liberty to apply to the SDT to vary that condition.
While in practice as a solicitor at SPG Law (trading name of Excello Law Limited) and based at Horton House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool L3 3PF, and while holding a position of authority over person A as a solicitor and office manager while she was working as a paralegal, the respondent had: (i) on more than one occasion stood in close proximity to person A in the office and touched and rubbed her on the shoulder area; (ii) while at the office, approached person A and slapped and/or touched her on the buttocks and said ‘is that sexual harassment?’ or words to that effect (that action was sexually motivated); (iii) while at the Racquet Club Hotel, he had approached person A and made a reference to her breasts as ‘two mountains on your chest’ or words to that effect; (iv) while at the office he had approached person A who was bending over and bumped into her from behind and said words to the effect of (a) ‘it’s your fault for having such a fat…’ and (b) ‘I’m not saying anything because I will get myself in trouble’ (sexually motivated).
The respondent’s conduct both individually and taken together, constituted a breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 and a failure to achieve outcome 11.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
The respondent’s lack of insight into his misconduct called into question his continued ability to practise appropriately. His misconduct was so serious that he should be suspended from practice. A term of 12 months appropriately reflected the seriousness of his misconduct.
Given the nature of his misconduct, it was appropriate to impose a restriction on the respondent’s ability to practise at the conclusion of his period of suspension, namely a condition prohibiting him from acting as a manager or supervisor of any member of staff, to be imposed indefinitely.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £17,500.
Aventus Law Ltd
The SRA intervened on 20 December 2023 into the remainder of the recognised body, Aventus Law Limited, formerly of Angel’s Wing II, Whitehorse Street, Leeds LS10 1AD.
The ground of intervention was: an order for the winding up of the firm was made on 7 June 2023 which is a relevant insolvency event – paragraph 32(1)( c) of Schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985.
No intervention agent has been appointed.