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

Michael John Little

Application 12498-2023

Admitted 2008

Hearing 31 January-2 February 2024

Reasons 28 March 2024

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. 

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal sign

Source: Michael Cross

Having been admitted as a solicitor of the senior courts, the respondent had been convicted by the United States District Court (Southern District of New York), after trial, of 19 counts, including 12 counts alleging that he had (i) conspired with others to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of the United States of America (one count); (ii) had corruptly obstructed the due administration of the IRS (one count); had aided and assisted the preparation of false IRS forms (10 counts); and in doing so he had breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

His actions, as referred to in relation to the counts above of which he had been convicted, had involved his making statements to third parties in correspondence using his status and letterhead as a solicitor of England and Wales, that were misleading and which he knew, or should have known, were liable to be misleading. In doing so, he had breached rules 1.02 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 or principles 2 and 6 of the Principles.

He had acted dishonestly.

The respondent had been motivated by the intention to conceal the true sum of taxation due to the IRS. His actions had clearly been carefully planned. The convictions related to Little’s conduct in relation to one family and were not part of wider criminality. Little had used his professional status as a solicitor, which was a trusted position, to advance his actions.

The respondent’s actions represented a complete departure from integrity, probity and trustworthiness, resulting in his incarceration for serious criminal offences, which had caused great harm to the reputation of the profession. Obvious harm had been caused to the IRS in circumstances where they had been deprived of revenue.

The misconduct was aggravated by the fact that the conduct was dishonest, involved commission of criminal offences, had continued over a period of time, was deliberate, and that the respondent would have known it was a material breach of his professional obligations.

The respondent had had no previous matters before the SDT. It had taken into account his age, that he was under stress and that he had had various proceedings ongoing in recent years. There was no evidence of any misconduct before or since the present convictions.

No exceptional circumstances had been advanced, and the SDT had been unable to identify any from the evidence before it.

The only appropriate sanction that could be justified in the case was that the respondent be struck off the roll.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £11,393.

Philip John Burbidge

Application 12505-2023

Admitted 1995

Hearing 14 March 2024

Reasons 3 April 2024

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.

While a consultant solicitor at Battens Solicitors Limited and while practising as a solicitor, the respondent had provided information to client A and client B in respect of work that had already been undertaken in the matter which he knew, or ought to have known was false, thereby breaching principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. He had acted dishonestly.

When representing client A and client B in litigation arising from a construction dispute, the respondent had failed adequately to comply with consent orders and unless orders, which had led to their claim being struck out and costs orders being made against them, thereby breaching principles 4, 5 and 6 and failing to achieve outcomes 1.2 and 5.3 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. He had acted recklessly.

When representing client A and client B in litigation arising from a construction dispute, the respondent had failed to seek client instructions in respect of ongoing matters, thereby breaching principles 4 and 5 and failing to achieve outcome 1.5 of the code. He had acted recklessly.

While the respondent’s motivation for the misconduct was not entirely clear it was likely that he had attempted to cover the lack of activity on his clients’ case which he had not progressed, and things which should have been done in his clients’ interests had not been done. Thereafter, matters had spiralled away from the respondent to the detriment of his clients. Overall, the respondent’s culpability was assessed as high.

Harm had clearly been caused to his clients by his failure to comply with the unless order. He had let his clients down and had left them exposed to a costs order in a significant sum. He had also caused serious harm to the reputation of the solicitors’ profession.

The respondent had presented no personal mitigation. No exceptional circumstances within the meaning of Sharma and James had been found in his case.

The respondent’s misconduct was very serious and that, together with the need to protect the reputation of the legal profession, required that strike-off from the roll was the only appropriate sanction.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £16,625.

Angelus Law Limited

On 22 April 2024, an Adjudication Panel resolved to intervene into Angelus Law Limited from premises based at Floor 3, No1 Tithebarn House, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool L2 2NZ. The first date of attendance was 24 April 2024.

The ground of intervention was: it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients or former clients (paragraph 1(2)(f) of Schedule 14 to the Legal Services Act 2007).

Sean Joyce of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan WN3 5BA (tel: 0333 321 4409; email:, has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent.

AI Sampson & Co

On 30 April, an adjudicator resolved to intervene into the former practice of Ivan Sampson, including but not limited to his practice at AI Sampson & Co, formerly based at 10 Malyons, Benfleet, Essex SS7 1TU. The practice closed on 8 October 2023. Mr Sampson died on 18 October 2023. The ground of intervention was: it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of the clients or former clients of Ivan Sampson – paragraph 1(1)(m) of Schedule 1 Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended).

No intervention agent has been appointed. The intervention notice was served on 30 April 2024. The SRA will be making arrangements to uplift the firm’s archived files.