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

Jill Elizabeth Benbow (aka Jill Elizabeth Tye)

Application 11915-2019

Admitted 1991

Hearing 19, 20 March 2019

Reasons 8 April 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £8,000. 

The respondent had been convicted of driving a motor vehicle on a road after consuming so much alcohol that her alcohol levels exceeded the prescribed limits, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, and had thereby breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. 

The parties invited the SDT to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and outcome. 

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

The aggravating factors were that it was her second conviction for driving having consumed excess alcohol, and she did not appear to have learned from her previous conviction or the regulatory settlement agreement reached in that regard. 

The offence had been reported in the local press and she had been named, albeit not identified as a solicitor. 

The driving disqualification previously imposed had expired only five months before the commission of the present offence.

In respect of the present conviction, she had been driving having consumed nearly three times the legal limit for alcohol consumption. 

The mitigating factors included that she had co-operated with the police fully, pleaded guilty in the criminal proceedings and had self-reported to the applicant. 

The SDT had assessed the conduct as ‘more serious’ in light of the aggravating features set out above and had concluded that a fine in the region of £8,000 would adequately protect the public and the reputation of the profession. 

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £1,632. 

Michelle Laura Davis

Application 11883-2018

Admitted 2012

Hearing 7 March 2019

Reasons 4 April 2019

[The judgment in this case was redacted.] 

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice as a solicitor for six months from 7 March 2019. 

By virtue of her conviction on 15 March 2018 of permitting the production/attempted production on premises of a class B controlled drug (cannabis), the respondent had breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

The main harm caused by the respondent’s conviction was to the reputation of the profession and the trust of the public in it. No client had been adversely affected. The respondent’s departure from the ‘complete integrity, probity and trustworthiness’ expected of a solicitor was moderately serious but it did not involve dishonesty. 

The misconduct had involved the commission of a criminal offence over a period of time. 

The respondent’s situation had resulted from her acquiescence in criminal activity by a third party. She had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. She had notified the applicant when she was charged as well as the partner of the firm to which she was a consultant. It was a one-off episode. Her insight and remorse was genuine. 

The imposition of restrictions was inappropriate as the offence did not relate to the respondent’s practice as a solicitor. The maintenance of the reputation of the profession required that a suspension be imposed. 

The respondent had been sentenced in March 2018 and would be subject to a community order until 26 March 2019. She had also offered a significant amount of convincing personal mitigation.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,796. 

Allansons LLP

On 23 May 2019, an adjudicator resolved to intervene into Allansons LLP and into the practices of Roger Brian Allanson at 1st Floor, Queens Buildings, Central Street, Bolton BL1 2AB; 685 Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, Wigan WN5 8AQ; and Citibase, 42-44 Clarendon Road, Watford WD17 1JJ. 

The ground for intervention in relation to Roger Brian Allanson was: 

  • Mr Allanson had failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011, the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and the SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011 being rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act.

The ground for intervention in relation to Allansons LLP was: 

  • Mr Allanson, as a manager of the firm, had failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011, the SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, which are rules applicable to him as a manager of the firm and the firm by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985.

John Owen of Gordons LLP, 1 New Augustus Street, Bradford BD1 5LL; tel: 0113 227 0361; email: allansons@gordonsllp.com; has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent. The first date of attendance was Friday 24 May 2019. 

Mr Allanson’s current practising certificate has been suspended with immediate effect. 

Rana Legal Ltd

On 30 April 2019, the adjudication panel intervened into the practice of Abid Mustafa Khan Rana, practising at Rana Legal Ltd, 839 High Road, Goodmayes, Ilford IG3 8TG, and into the firm Rana Legal Ltd. 

The ground of intervention in relation to Mr Rana was: 

  • Failure to comply with the rules made by the SRA.

The grounds of intervention in relation to Rana Legal Ltd was: 

  • Mr Rana, as a manager of the firm, and the firm itself have failed to comply with the rules made by the SRA.

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

Marion Vesey of Shacklocks LLP, St Peter’s House, Bridge Street, Mansfield NG18 1AL; DX: 723580 Mansfield; tel: 01623 423073; email: interventionrana@shacklocks.co.uk; has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent.