Mark Harvey Lorrell
Application 11668-2017
Admitted 2003
Hearing 2-5 July 2018
Reasons 10 August 2018

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

While acting as a member of Lorrells LLP the respondent had accepted, or caused the acceptance of, instructions to act for S Ltd where such instructions were in conflict with the interests of client C for whom instructions had been accepted on a related matter, or where there was a significant risk of such a conflict; and where those instructions gave rise to a conflict with the interests of the firm, or where there was a significant risk of such a conflict, in breach of principles 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 and outcomes 3.4 and 3.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

Having received up to £288,600 from S Ltd on behalf of client C the respondent: had not kept adequate accounting records of the loan, in breach of rule 29.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011; had transferred monies to the firm’s office account in settlement of fees without first sending a bill of costs or other written notification of costs to client C prior to using the loan in payment of the firm’s fees, in breach of rules 17.2 and 20.3 of the 2011 rules; had not appropriately recorded dealings with the loan, in breach of rule 29.2 of the 2011 rules and in so doing had breached principles 5, 6 and 8.

The respondent’s motivation had been to keep a client who was a good source of work happy at the expense of another. His conduct had not been planned but he had been cavalier as to the interests of one client against another.

The respondent’s actions had been a classic example of a solicitor departing from the complete integrity, probity and trustworthiness expected of a solicitor with the commensurate harm to the reputation of the profession.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £35,700.

Martin Edward Burnett
Application 11766-2017
Admitted 2003
Hearing 4 September 2018
Reasons 25 September 2018

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

The respondent had created and presented a false grant of probate to a building society in order to close the account of PF (deceased), in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. He had acted dishonestly.

He had deliberately altered the transaction date on a TR2 form in a conveyancing transaction and had forged the signatures of J McA, his witness and D McK on a TR1 form, and had purported to witness the signature of D McK which he had forged on a TR1 form, in breach of principles 2, 4 and 6. He had acted dishonestly.

He had forged the signatures of trustees, TM and SL on a DS1 form to discharge a charge in the trust’s favour over a client’s property and had presented or caused to be presented the DS1 form to the Land Registry in breach of principles 2, 4 and 6. He had acted dishonestly.

By failing to disclose material information to his lender client in relation to the purchase of a property, he had breached rules 1.02, 1.06 and 4.02 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007, breached principles 2 and 6, and had failed to achieve outcome (4.2) of the 2011 code.

By releasing mortgage funds to a transferor when there was no contract of sale and taking inadequate steps to ensure the lender client would have a first legal charge, he had breached rules 1.04 and 1.05 of the 2007 code and principles 4 and 5. 

By providing misleading information to his lender client in a letter, he had failed to achieve outcome 4.2 and had breached principles 2 and 6. He had acted dishonestly.

By failing to respond to written correspondence sent to him by the SRA, he had breached principle 7.

The respondent’s motivation had been to cover up mistakes made in the course of his practice. He had sought to avoid having difficult conversations with his clients and with the firm.

The misconduct had been deliberate, calculated and repeated and had continued for a considerable period of time. There were no mitigating factors. The only appropriate sanction was a strike-off.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £10,558.

Dianna Lee (aka Dianna Gerald)
Application 11594-2017
Admitted 2007
Hearing 16 August 2018
Reasons 13 September 2018 

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

By virtue of her conviction on 7 July 2016 of four counts of fraud by false representation the respondent had breached principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. 

The seriousness of the respondent’s misconduct was aggravated by the fact that it had involved the commission of a very serious criminal offence and it had been deliberate and calculated. 

The protection of the public and the protection of the reputation of the legal profession required that the respondent’s name should be struck off the roll. There were no exceptional circumstances or personal mitigation that meant that the sanction should be reduced. 

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £4,000.

Robin Dranath Bhol
Application 11777-2018
Admitted 2000
Hearing 26 July 2018
Reasons 21 August 2018

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £10,000. 

Between 19 August 2011 and 4 July 2014 DBS Law, of which the respondent was a principal, had received payments of commission in relation to the referral of clients to a total of £34,500.93 from Accident Exchange, a company which provided motor vehicles to victims of road traffic accidents on credit hire, into its office account. In consequence, the respondent had breached rule 14.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.

From 31 October 2013 to 4 July 2014, the respondent had failed to take steps to prevent DBS Law from accepting commission payments from Accident Exchange in circumstances where he knew, or should have known, that such payments were prohibited by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. In consequence, he had breached principles 6 and 7 of the SRA Principles 2011.

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

The respondent was an experienced solicitor operating at director level. In addition to that he had specific additional responsibilities as the firm’s COLP and COFA. The SDT was satisfied that his culpability had been correctly assessed as negligent by the parties.

The respondent’s misconduct was aggravated by the length of time during which it had continued but was mitigated by the fact that he had made admissions and had no previous matters recorded against him. The appropriate sanction was a financial penalty.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

Neil Adrian Aiston 
Application 11759-2017
Admitted 1979
Hearing 13 August 2018
Reasons 24 September 2018

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

While in practice as a sole practitioner at Aiston Solicitors the respondent had caused or allowed the use of clients’ monies for other clients’ matters without consent, in breach of rules 1.2(c) and 20.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, and principles 2, 4, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011.

He had arranged and effected a private loan between a client and a third party without prior written authority, in breach of rules 1.2(c), 27.1 and 27.2 of the 2011 rules and principles 2, 4, 6 and 10. He had acted dishonestly.

He had arranged and effected a private loan between clients in circumstances giving rise to a conflict between his own interests and those of the client making the loan, and between the interests of the clients making and receiving the loan, thereby failing to fulfil outcomes O(3.4) and O(3.5) of the 2011 code and breaching principles 2, 4, 6 and 10. He had acted dishonestly.

He had failed to remedy breaches of the 2011 rules promptly upon discovery in breach of rule 7.1 thereof and principle 10.

He had failed to establish and maintain proper accounting systems and internal controls in breach of rule l.2(e) of the 2011 rules, outcomes O(7.2) and O(7.3) and principle 8.

He had failed to keep proper accounting records in breach of rules 1.2(f), 29.1, 29.2, 29.4 and 29.9 of the 2011 rules and principle 8.

He had failed to prepare a reconciliation statement which showed the cause of any difference shown by each of the comparisons required by rule 29.12(a) of the 2011 rules in breach of rule 29.12(c) and principle 8, and which showed all shortages in reconciliations, in breach of rule 29.14 and principle 8.

He had failed adequately to carry out his roles as a COLP and COFA in breach of rules 8.5(c) and (e) of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011.

The misconduct had been deliberate, calculated and repeated. The respondent had lacked insight throughout and had blamed everyone but himself for his failings. He had made very limited, equivocal admissions which did not come close to a full acceptance of the scale of his misconduct. There were no mitigating factors.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £63,993.

Broadway Legal Limited (trading as Broadway Solicitors)

 On 19 November 2018 the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into Broadway Legal Limited, trading as Broadway Solicitors, and the practice of Farooq Rafiq at Chambers Business Centre, Chapel Road, Oldham OL8 4QQ.

The grounds of intervention in relation to Mr Rafiq were:

  • Mr Rafiq had failed to comply with rules made under Sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974; and
  • It was necessary to exercise the powers of intervention to protect the interests of clients or former clients.

The grounds of intervention in relation to Broadway Legal Limited, trading as Broadway Solicitors, were:

  • As a manager of Broadway Legal Limited, trading as Broadway Solicitors, Mr Rafiq failed to comply with rules; and
  • It was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients and former clients of the firm.

The SRA’s appointed agent is John Owen of Gordons LLP, 1 New Augustus Street, Bradford BD1 5LL, tel: 0113 227 0260, email: intervention@gordonsllp.com 

The first date of attendance was 22 November 2018.

Mr Rafiq’s current practising certificate was suspended with immediate effect.

Goldbergs Solicitors

On 5 November 2018, the panel resolved to intervene into the above-named sole practice of Raymond Lawrence Toms [101204], formerly based at 7-8 Ford Park Road, Mutley, Plymouth, Devon PL4 6QZ.

The grounds for intervention were:

  • There was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Mr Toms in connection with his practice as a solicitor; and
  • Mr Toms failed to comply with the rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended).

Karen Thompson of Lester Aldridge LLP, Russell House, Oxford Road, Bournemouth BH8 8EX, tel: 01202 786341, DX: 7623 Bournemouth, was appointed to act as the Law Society’s agent.

The first date of attendance was 9 November 2018.

Mr Tom’s practising certificate has been suspended as a result of the intervention.