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

Timothy Lewis Eppel

Application 11916-2019

Admitted 1975

Hearings 15-19, 31 July 2019

Reasons 18 September 2019 

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £10,000. 

While in practice as a solicitor at McFaddens LLP, as well as being the sole director of City Tower Secretarial Services Ltd, and while instructed by specified clients between approximately 2014 and 2016, the respondent had involved himself and McFaddens in one or more investment schemes and/or transactions which were dubious, in breach of principle 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. 

In respect of client 1/client 2 he had caused or allowed McFaddens’ client account to be used improperly, namely as a banking facility, in the absence of (i) an underlying legal transaction and/or (ii) a service forming part of his normal regulated activities, in breach of rule 14.5 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and principles 6 and 8. 

He had caused or allowed client money to be held in an account that was not a client account, in breach of principles 7 and 10, and rule 14.1 of the rules. 

He had failed to maintain any accounting records, in breach of rule 29.1, 29.2 and 29.12 of the rules. 

The respondent had not been motivated by personal gain and he had received only the fees to which he was entitled. There was no element of planning in the respondent’s misconduct and no evidence of breach of trust. There had been no direct harm to the public, nor had it been proved that there had been any harm to the investors in the case. 

The misconduct was serious. The respondent had involved himself in one or more investment schemes and/or transactions which were dubious in circumstances that no solicitor should allow to happen. 

Because the respondent had shown genuine insight, had made proper admissions and had taken steps to set matters right, a fine was the appropriate sanction by which to protect the public.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £50,000. 

Rhodd Llwyd Humphreys

Application 11971-2019

Admitted 2002

Hearing 8 August 2019

Reasons 8 August 2019

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

While employed at BBH (Legal Services) Limited, the respondent had made a statement which was untrue to NM, a beneficiary in the estate of VGR, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. She had acted dishonestly.

While employed at GHP Legal, she had made untrue statements to her clients and third parties in the matter of the estate of HER, informing them that the grant of probate had been obtained when she knew that it had not been; that the Revenue was asking for further information when she knew that probate had not been obtained and that HMRC had closed the matter down; that she was waiting for the final calculation from the HMRC when she knew that HMRC had closed the matter down; that HMRC had agreed the inheritance tax position and that there was no tax to pay when she knew that HMRC had not agreed the tax position; that the probate document had been sent to Hadlow Edwards by letter when she knew that probate had not been obtained; that the grant of probate was being walked around to the offices of Hadlow Edwards when she knew that the grant of probate had not been obtained; that she had just dictated a letter to come to Hadlow Edwards with the grant of probate knowing that probate had not been obtained; and that she was enclosing the grant of probate in a letter knowing that probate had not been obtained. She had thereby breached principles 2 and 6, and had acted dishonestly.

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

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

Given the serious nature of the respondent’s misconduct, in that it had involved admitted dishonesty, the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was to strike the respondent off the roll.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

Cleveland & Co

Solicitors Ltd

On 27 September 2019, the Adjudication Panel resolved to intervene into the remnants of the above-named firm, formerly based at 234-236 Whitechapel Road, Bethnal Green, London E1 1BJ.

The ground for intervention was: it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of the firm’s former clients.

No intervention agent has been appointed.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority will be making arrangements to take possession of the archived files from an offsite facility.