Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)

Matthew Nester

Application 12495-2023

Admitted 2021

Hearing 21 February 2024

Reasons 7 March 2024

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. 

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

Source: Michael Cross

While in practice as a solicitor at Hugh James Solicitors, the respondent had created records as to the time spent by him working on client matters which were inaccurate, misleading and in excess of the time actually spent on the client matters against which they were recorded, thereby breaching principles 2, 4 and 5 of the SRA Principles 2019 and paragraph 1.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs 2019.

The respondent’s conduct was motivated by his desire to evidence to the firm that he was working effectively and achieving his daily time-recorded hours as expected of him. He was annoyed that he had not been as productive as he would usually be. His actions were planned. He repeated the false time recording across a number of files, in the knowledge that he had not worked the time that he had recorded. He had breached the trust placed in him by the firm to accurately record the work that he was doing.

While the respondent’s misconduct had not caused direct harm to clients or to the firm, he had caused damage to the reputation of the profession. His conduct was aggravated by his proven dishonesty.

It was accepted that the respondent had intended, at some future point, to undertake the work that he had recorded. He had co-operated fully with the firm’s internal investigation and had made admissions to failing to maintain public trust and acting without integrity from the outset.

He had self-reported his misconduct to the SRA. His misconduct, while repeated, had happened over a very short period of time in a previously unblemished career. He had displayed some insight into his misconduct and had offered his apology to the SDT, the public and the profession.

Given the serious nature of the allegation, the SDT had considered and rejected the lesser sanctions within its sentencing powers. It had not found any circumstances that were enough to bring the respondent in line with the residual exceptional circumstances category referred to in the case of Sharma.

Neither his working conditions, nor the concerns that he had for the health of members of his family at the time, were sufficient to be classed as exceptional, nor did those issues relate in some way to his dishonest conduct. The only appropriate and proportionate sanction was to strike the respondent off the roll.

No order as to costs was made.

Frederick William Adams

Application 12490-2023

Admitted 2016

Hearing 30 January 2024

Reasons 7 March 2024

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice as a solicitor for three months from 30 January 2024.  

On 12 December 2019, while at a Christmas party arranged by the firm, the respondent had engaged in the following conduct that was inappropriate, unwanted and sexually motivated: (i) he had touched the bottom and thigh of person A; and (ii) he had made a sexually explicit comment to person A. He had thereby breached principles 2 and 5 of the SRA Principles 2019 and paragraph 12 of the Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs.

The respondent’s misconduct was sexually motivated but arose out of intoxication as opposed to being planned or premeditated. The respondent had chosen to consume an excessive amount notwithstanding an earlier warning by the firm as regards the potential consequences of so doing.

His misconduct represented a single incident of brief (namely hours) duration in the context of a previously unblemished career.

A financial penalty, in principle, did not appropriately meet the seriousness of the misconduct. Sexual misconduct of any nature was extremely serious such that due consideration should be given to the solicitor’s suitability to continue to practise.

The SDT had assessed the nature of the sexual misconduct and in so doing had determined that it was not at the highest end of the spectrum such that neither the protection of the public nor the protection of the reputation of the legal profession justified an order striking the respondent from the roll.

The SDT was therefore satisfied that an order suspending the respondent from the roll was proportionate and appropriate to meet the overarching public interest in all the circumstances.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

Jarmans Solicitors

On 15 March 2024, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into Jarmans Solicitors (JS) Limited of 13 Conqueror Court, Sittingbourne ME10 5BH. The grounds for intervention were:

  • there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Dorota Newman, in connection with the firm’s business (paragraph 1(2)(d)(i) of Schedule 14 to the Legal Services Act 2007).
  • The firm and its manager, Mrs Newman, have not complied with the terms of its licence (paragraph 1(2)(a) of Schedule 14 to the Legal Services Act 2007).

Chris Evans of Lester Aldridge LLP, Russell House, Oxford Road, Bournemouth BH8 8EX (email:; tel: 01202 786 341) has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent. The date of first attendance was 19 March 2024.

Hyam Lehrer

On 10 April 2024, the SRA intervened into the practice of Hyam Lehrer, including but not limited to his practice under the style Messila House Ltd.

The ground of intervention was:

  • it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients or former clients and any beneficiaries of any trust of which Lehrer is or was a trustee – paragraph 1 (1)(m) of Schedule 1 Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974.

Emma Porter of Shakespeare Martineau, No 1 Colmore Square, Birmingham B4 6AA (tel: 0300 247 2470; email: has been appointed as the intervention agent.

Lehrer’s practising certificate is not affected by the intervention.