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

Afame Kingsley John Offiah
Application 11794-2018
Admitted 1999
Hearings 27 September, 4 December 2018
Reasons 6 February 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be reprimanded. 

The respondent had failed to competently conduct an application to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (CACD) for leave to appeal against sentence and a confiscation order made on behalf of his client, B, in that he had: failed to follow the procedure laid down in R v McCook [2014] EWCA Crim 734, whereby he was required to contact B’s previous solicitors and counsel to ensure the facts presented by B were correct; drafted misleading and defective grounds of appeal for leave to appeal against sentence and a confiscation order, the application being summarily dismissed by the CACD on the basis that it was frivolous or vexatious; failed properly to review B’s application or contact his previous solicitors despite receiving a letter from the Registrar of Criminal Appeals pointing out that it was clear from the grounds of appeal that the procedure in R v McCook had not been followed; failed to respond to the registrar’s letter or a chaser letter asking for an update on the appeal; and failed to withdraw B’s application for leave to appeal when it should have been apparent to him that it was misconceived. 

As a result thereof he had acted in breach of principles 1, 4, 5 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 and failed to achieve outcomes 1.2, 1.5 and 5.6.

The respondent’s culpability was low, there was no identifiable harm to any individual (B having no complaints and being very supportive of the respondent), and the risk of repetition was very low. 

Taking into account the high level of insight and remorse shown by the respondent, the considerable strides he had taken to improve practices at his firm, and the candid manner in which he had given evidence before the SDT, a reprimand was the appropriate and proportionate sanction.

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

Archer Fields Solicitors

On 28 September 2018, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into Archer Fields Solicitors, formerly based at 259-261 Cranbrook Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 4TG, and into the practice of Jayesh Sasdev at Archer Fields Solicitors. 

The grounds for intervention in relation to Sasdev were: failure to comply with rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended); and it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of Sasdev’s clients or former clients. 

The grounds for intervention in relation to Archer Fields Solicitors were: Sasdev, as manager of the firm, had failed to comply with the rules applicable by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985; and it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of the firm’s clients or former clients. 

The SRA’s appointed agent is James Dunn of Devonshires Solicitors LLP, 30 Finsbury Circus, London EC2M 7DT; tel: 020 7065 1830. The first date of attendance was 3 October 2018. 

However, Sasdev challenged the intervention decision. His challenge was struck out on 28 February 2019. Sasdev’s practising certificate has been suspended as a result of the intervention. 

Ness & Co

On 20 February 2019, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into Ness & Co, formerly based at 38C London Road, Tooting, London SW17 9HP. 

The grounds for intervention were: it was necessary to intervene into Ness & Co to protect the interests of former clients and beneficiaries of the firm; as managers of the firm, Michael Walter Edward Cummings and Suntharalingam Thavanessan had failed to comply with the rules applicable to them by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985. 

No intervention agent has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent. The first date of attendance was 25 February 2019. 

Jestyn Jeffreys

On 25 February 2019, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into Jestyn Jeffreys and the practices of Ieuan Michael Jones and David Walter Phillips at Castle Buildings, 23 Church Lane, Neath West Glamorgan SA11 3LP. 

The grounds of intervention in relation to Jones were: there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Jones in connection with his practice at the firm; and Jones had failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, being rules made by virtue of sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974. 

The ground of intervention in relation to Phillips was: Phillips had failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011, being rules made by virtue of sections 31 of the Solicitors Act 1974. 

The grounds of intervention in relation to Jestyn Jeffreys were: there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Jones as a manager of the firm in connection with his business at the firm; and Jones and Phillips as managers of the firm and the firm itself had breached the SRA Principles 2011 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. 

The SRA’s appointed agent is Susie Dryden of Blake Morgan LLP, New Kings Court, Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh SO53 3LG; tel: 02380 857270; email: interventions@blakemorgan.co.uk. The first date of attendance was Wednesday 27 February 2019.