Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Richard Thomas Clegg
Hearing 27-29 November 2018
Reasons 12 December 2018
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.
By entering a defence in civil proceedings brought against his firm by Professor JW (relating to non-payment of the latter’s fees in clinical negligence proceedings in which the respondent had acted for Mrs LW) stating that Mrs LW should be the correct defendant, without informing her of the civil proceedings or his comments therein, the respondent had breached principles 4 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011, and had failed to achieve outcomes 1.1, 1.16 and 3.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
By misleading Mrs LW by failing to provide her with full and accurate information regarding Professor JW’s claim, the respondent had breached principles 2, 3, 4 and 6 and had failed to achieve outcome 1.1. The respondent had acted dishonestly.
The respondent had not been motivated by financial gain. His motivation for his misconduct might have been to protect the reputation of the firm and of the solicitor with conduct of the litigation.
The respondent’s misconduct was aggravated by his proven dishonesty. It had been deliberate, repeated and had continued over a period of time. The respondent had reinforced the misleading impression caused both orally and in correspondence.
He had shown some, but limited, insight. Notwithstanding his admission that there was a conflict of which he should have advised his client, he had maintained that he was not under a duty to cease acting for her as a result of that conflict.
There were no exceptional circumstances relating to the respondent’s dishonesty such that it would be disproportionate to strike him from the roll.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £12,000.
Andrew Adenive Abereoje
Hearing 13 November 2018
Reasons 17 December 2018
The SDT ordered the variation of an order dated 21 November 2013 in respect of the applicant by the removal of conditions 1.1 and 1.2.
On 21 July 2005 under case no. 9123-2004, the applicant was suspended from practice until 31 December 2005. The SDT ordered that after that date he might act as a solicitor only in employment approved by the Law Society and which offered in the reasonable opinion of the Law Society appropriate supervision, and where he was not, nor was held out to be, a partner, nor should he be an office-holder or shareholder in any incorporated solicitors practice.
On 21 November 2013, that order was varied by imposing the following conditions: that (i) the applicant might practise as an employee in a practice having no fewer than five partners, members, directors and/or shareholders in any such practice; (ii) he might be employed as an in-house solicitor; and (iii) he might not be employed as either a compliance officer for legal practice or as compliance officer for finance and administration.
The applicant applied for the removal of those three conditions.
Thirteen years was a long time to work under conditions and the applicant should have the opportunity to rehabilitate himself. It was arguable that there was nothing in the present conditions which stopped that. However, it was disproportionate to continue tight restrictions on his practice, provided the public could still be protected.
The SDT took into account the efforts which the applicant had made to learn about the management of client money, but in the continuing absence of any private practice experience it did not consider from the essential aspect of protecting the public that he could be allowed to apply to be a compliance officer for legal practice, or a compliance officer for finance and administration.
The removal of conditions 1 and 2 would allow scope for the applicant to develop his career. He had been a young and very inexperienced solicitor who made a mess of setting up and running his firm but the door should be left open for him. He had stuck to his chosen area of legal work and was clearly very committed to it.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,698.
On 6 February 2019, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into the practice of Jayanthi Reddy Saganti at Jusprowess Solicitors, 214 High Street, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 1HB.
The grounds for intervention were: reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Saganti in connection with her practice; and Saganti had failed to comply with the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and SRA Principles 2011, which are rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
The SRA’s appointed agent is James Dunn of Devonshires Solicitors LLP, 30 Finsbury Circus, London EC2M 7DT, tel: 0207 065 1830; email: email@example.com.
The first date of attendance was Tuesday 12 February 2019.
Saganti’s current practising certificate has been suspended with immediate effect.
Syed Sulman Hassan practising as Intelegal Solicitors
On 18 February 2019, the adjudication panel intervened into the practice of Syed Sulman Hassan at Intelegal Solicitors, 19 Briercliffe Road, Burnley BB10 1XH.
The ground for intervention was: it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of Hassan’s clients or former clients.
The SRA’s appointed agent is Neal Boland of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan WN3 5BA; tel: 0333 344 4776, DX:322401 Wigan 11; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hassan’s practising certificate has not been suspended as a result of the intervention.