Michael David Schwartz
Application 11781-2018
Admitted 1979
Hearing 26 July 2018
Reasons 21 August 2018

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

The respondent had filed at the SDT and served on the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) a witness statement for the purposes of an application made by him to vary the restrictions that had been placed on his practice as a solicitor by the SDT on 9 September 2016. He knew this contained false and misleading information, thereby breaching principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 and failing to achieve outcome 5.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. He had acted dishonestly.

The respondent had deliberately and knowingly breached the restrictions that had been placed on his practice as a solicitor by the SDT on 9 September 2016 by appearing in court on behalf of Toussaint & Co Solicitors, despite the SDT requiring him to seek prior approval from the SRA before working for this firm, thereby breaching principles 2, 6 and 7. He had acted dishonestly.

The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure.

The SDT was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made.

He had admitted to serious professional misconduct, including dishonesty, which had been repeated, had continued over a period of time, and had involved misleading the SRA and the SDT. 

Matters were aggravated by the fact that the respondent had been disciplined on three previous occasions by the SDT.

The only appropriate and proportionate sanction was that the respondent be struck off the roll. The respondent was also ordered to pay costs of £2,600.

Daksheenie Abeyewardene
Application 11643-2017
Admitted 1985
Hearing 26 July 2018
Reasons 21 August 2018

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

Between 2009 and 2012, the respondent had submitted claims to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) in immigration matters which she knew to be improper, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. She had acted dishonestly.

During an interview in 2015, the respondent had failed to deal with auditors from the LAA in an open and co-operative manner when she provided information which was misleading in order to satisfy the auditors that the firm was compliant with record keeping and contract requirements. She had thereby breached principles 2, 6 and 7. She had acted dishonestly.

The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure.

The SDT reviewed all the material before it was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made.

The respondent had made admissions to serious professional misconduct including dishonesty. She was very experienced and had been operating at partner level at the material time. In addition she was head of the immigration department.

The SDT noted the mitigation put forward by the respondent and recognised in particular the circumstances of her ill health. It also accepted that she had repaid a substantial amount of money to the LAA.

The only appropriate sanction that would adequately reflect the seriousness of the misconduct, and protect the public and the reputation of the profession from future harm was a strike-off. There were no circumstances that could justify a lesser sanction.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £17,219.

James Richard Zacharias 
Application 11823-2018
Admitted 2003
Hearing 9 July 2018
Reasons 26 July 2018

The SDT granted the applicant’s application for removal of the conditions on his practising certificate imposed by it on 26 March 2013. 

Those conditions were that the applicant might not practise as a sole practitioner, partner or member of a limited liability partnership, legal disciplinary practice or alternative business structure; hold client money; and for the avoidance of doubt that he might only work as a solicitor in employment approved by the SRA.

On 13 January 2018, an authorised officer at the SRA had determined to grant the applicant a practising certificate that was free from conditions.

The SRA’s opposition was limited to the removal of the restriction prohibiting the applicant from working as a sole practitioner. It was submitted that while employed, the applicant would be subject to supervision and the nature of his work would be monitored.

The authorised officer had produced a carefully considered and detailed report, and had appropriately assessed any risk to both the public and the reputation of the profession. 

The conduct complained of had taken place in 2010. The applicant had been subject to the restrictions imposed since his appearance in 2013. There had been no regulatory concerns regarding his conduct since the restrictions were imposed.

The applicant had demonstrated insight and remorse into his conduct and had carved out a new area of expertise in which his previous misconduct was highly unlikely to be repeated. He was laudably concentrating on difficult family work and childcare cases for underprivileged members of his community. He had regained the respect of the judiciary and was a valuable member of the profession.

It was no longer necessary for the protection of the public or the reputation of the profession to continue to impose restrictions on the applicant’s practising certificate.

The applicant was ordered to pay costs of £800.

Shah London Ltd

The Adjudication Panel of the SRA has resolved to intervene into Shah London Ltd, formerly Shah Solicitors Ltd and formerly based at 12 Station Approach, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2XN and 54 Harpur Street, Bedford MK40 2QT. 

The ground for intervention was: it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients and former clients of the firm.

No intervention agent has been appointed.

The SRA is making arrangements to collect the closed files from the offsite storage facility.