Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Hearing 11 July 2019
Reasons 24 July 2019
The SDT ordered that from 11 July 2019, except in accordance with Law Society permission, (i) no solicitor should employ or remunerate the respondent in connection with his practice as a solicitor; (ii) no employee of a solicitor should employ or remunerate the respondent in connection with the solicitor’s practice; (iii) no recognised body should employ or remunerate the respondent; (iv) no manager or employee of a recognised body should employ or remunerate the respondent in connection with the business of that body; (v) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the respondent to be a manager of the body; and (vi) no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the respondent to have an interest in the body.
The respondent had been convicted of a criminal offence which was such that in the opinion of the SRA it would be undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice in one or more of the ways mentioned in section 43(1A) of the Solicitors Act 1974, as amended by the Legal Services Act 2007. The conviction was of one count of conspiracy to defraud, for which he had been sentenced to 29 months’ imprisonment.
The criminal offences had not taken place in the context of the respondent’s work in a legal practice. It was entirely right and proper that the public should be protected and that had been achieved by the imposition of the section 43 order. The SDT did not consider that a further sanction was necessary and it noted that the respondent had served a significant period of time in custody as part of his sentence.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £4,086.
Colin Neil Maltby
Hearing 23 July 2019
Reasons 19 August 2019
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £3,000.
The respondent had replied to an enquiry by the executive of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers during the course of its investigation into AM (a client of the respondent) and JG (a business associate of AM), informing the executive that a promissory note, evidencing a purported agreement between AM and JG connected with a share purchase, had been signed by JG on 17 July 2013. The respondent knew, or ought to have known, that the promissory note could not have been signed by JG on that date as he had personally prepared and drafted the promissory note on 19 March 2015. The respondent had thereby misled or acquiesced in the misleading of the panel, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
The respondent had acted carelessly. While he had known the executive was interested in the transaction, he had not taken the care that he should have done, simply because he was keen to bring the matter to a close quickly. He had not gained anything financially, nor had he planned to deliberately mislead the executive.
Solicitors dealing with any regulatory authority discharging its public functions were required to act with candour, and ensure that they provided accurate information. In failing to do so, the respondent had caused some harm to the reputation of the profession, albeit his conduct was not deliberate.
The respondent was not a risk to the public. He had learned a salutary lesson from the present proceedings and the risk of repetition was low.
A fine was the appropriate and proportionate sanction. The respondent’s culpability had been low in that he had been careless with one email to a regulatory authority.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £6,107.
Francisco Xavier Rodriguez-Purcet
Hearing 15-18 July 2019
Reasons 17 September 2019
The SDT ordered that the allegations against the respondent, unadmitted, should be dismissed.
The allegations made against the respondent were that:
(i) he had procured, arranged and received (both into his personal bank account and into the account of a company of which he was the 100% shareholder) monies which were derived from Axiom Funds and which were corrupt and improper payments from a company (Legal Apps Limited) owned and run by a personal friend (Mr RH) that supplied services to Tandem XJA Limited (trading as Tandem Law), and had thereby breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. Dishonesty, or alternatively recklessness, was alleged.
(ii) he had arranged for (or acquiesced in) the passing to third parties (without client consent) of confidential information belonging to Tandem clients so that the said third parties could cold-call the clients offering remortgage services, and he had thereby breached principles 2 and 6. Recklessness was alleged.
The respondent denied the allegations made against him by the applicant and the SDT found the allegations not proved.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £8,778.
On 20 September 2019 the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into the remnants of the above-named firm, formerly based at Pendower House, Cumberland Business Centre, Northumberland Road, Portsmouth PO5 1DS. The firm closed on 13 October 2017.
The grounds for intervention were:
- It was necessary to protect the interests of former clients of Allens Solicitors (paragraph 32(1)(e) Schedule 2, Administration of Justice Act 1985).
No intervention agent has been appointed.
The SRA will be making arrangements to take possession of the client account funds and archived files.