Richard Emmett, Lindsay Emmett, Matthew Stokes, Mary Hunter, David Rae, Dale Stephenson

Application  11659-2017

Hearing        25 June-2 July 2018

Reasons      7 September 2018

The SDT ordered that the first, second, third and fourth respondents should be struck off the roll. 

The SDT further ordered that as from 2 July 2018 except in accordance with Law Society permission (i) no solicitor should employ or remunerate either the fifth or sixth respondent in connection with his practice as a solicitor; (ii) no employee of a solicitor should employ or remunerate the fifth or sixth respondent in connection with the solicitor’s practice; (iii) no recognised body should employ or remunerate the fifth or sixth respondent; (iv) no manager or employee of a recognised body should employ or remunerate the fifth or sixth respondent in connection with the business of that body; (v) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the fifth or sixth respondent to be a manager of the body; and (vi) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the fifth or sixth respondent to have an interest in the body. The fifth respondent was ordered to pay a fine of £200,000; the sixth respondent to pay a fine of £50,001.

The first to fourth respondents, by failing to maintain proper and effective control of the firm and permitting others to exercise de facto control over the management and running of the firm and its finances, had breached principles 2, 3, 4 and 6 and failed to achieve outcome 7.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. 

By causing or permitting the firm to become engaged in a pattern of excessive and reckless borrowing, they had breached principles 2, 3, 4 and 6 and failed to achieve outcome 7.4. 

By causing or permitting the firm to use monies borrowed from the Axiom Fund not in accordance with the strict terms of the firm’s litigation funding agreement they had breached principles 2, 3, 4 and 6 and failed to achieve outcome 7.4. 

By each receiving and retaining monies the firm had received from the Axiom Fund in circumstances in which it was improper for them to do so, they had breached principles 2, 3 and 4 and failed to achieve outcome 7.4. They had acted dishonestly. 

The first and second respondents had caused or permitted the firm to purchase a single share of ATM Solicitors Limited (a company owned by [TS]) for £3,000,000 without carrying out any or any proper due diligence into ATM Solicitors and by improperly utilising monies from the Axiom Fund, thereby breaching principles 2, 3, 4 and 6 and failing to achieve outcome 7.4. They had acted dishonestly. 

By causing or permitting the firm to be owned by a non-regulated individual or company, the first to third respondents had breached principles 2, 3, 4 and 6 and failed to achieve outcome 7.4. The first and second respondents had acted dishonestly. The third respondent had acted recklessly.

The fifth and sixth respondents had exerted an inappropriate level of control over the management and running of the firm and its finances to the exclusion of the solicitors who were supposed to be running it, contrary to principles 2 and 6. They had acted dishonestly. 

The fifth respondent had caused or permitted the firm to become engaged in a pattern of excessive and reckless borrowing, contrary to principles 2 and 6. He had acted dishonestly. 

By causing or permitting the firm to use monies borrowed from the Axiom Fund not in accordance with the strict terms of the firm’s litigation funding agreement, the fifth and sixth respondents had breached principles 2 and 6. The fifth respondent had acted dishonestly. 

By each receiving and retaining monies the firm had received from the Axiom Fund in circumstances in which it was improper for them to do so, the fifth and sixth respondents had breached principles 2 and 6. The fifth respondent had acted dishonestly.

The fifth respondent had become the owner of the firm even though he was not a solicitor and not otherwise regulated by the SRA, contrary to principles 2 and 6. He had acted dishonestly. 

The first and second respondents were ordered to pay 35% of the costs on a joint and several basis, to be assessed if not agreed, and further to make, on a joint and several basis, an interim payment of £58,917 within 42 days. 

The third respondent was ordered to pay 15% of the costs, to be assessed if not agreed, and further to make an interim payment of £25,250 within 42 days. 

The fourth respondent was ordered to pay 5% of the costs, to be assessed if not agreed, and further to make an interim payment of £8,417 within 42 days. 

The fifth respondent was ordered to pay 30% of the costs, to be assessed if not agreed, and further to make an interim payment of £50,500 within 42 days. 

The sixth respondent was ordered to pay 15% of the costs, to be assessed if not agreed, and further to make an interim payment of £25,250 within 42 days. 

Richard Stephen Davies

On 16 October 2018, the SRA intervened into the practice of Richard Stephen Davies, practising as Richard Stephen Davies at 62 New Street, Mold CH7 1NZ.

The grounds for intervention were:

  • There was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Davies in connection with his practice as a solicitor;
  • Daves failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.

Davies’ practising certificate was suspended as a result of the intervention decision.

Neal Boland of Stephensons has been appointed as intervention agent. His contact details are: Stephensons, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan WN3 5BA; tel: 0333 344 4776; email: sraenquiries@stephensons.co.uk.