Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Hearing 25-27 June, 5 August 2019
Reasons 12 September 2019
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £1,500.
While in practice as a partner at Woodfines LLP, the respondent had incorrectly certified an ‘Introduction Certificate’ for company 1. She had thereby breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
There had been no improper motive or personal gain to the respondent in having certified that client C had been known to her for five years. While the respondent appreciated that the introductory certificate was a legal document, it did not hold the same legal status as certification of a passport.
Overall, the respondent’s culpability was low. The only aggravating feature was the finding of lack of integrity.
No deception had been perpetrated by the respondent. No tangible loss had been caused to any party save for the loss of public confidence in the legal profession. The conduct found proved amounted to an isolated incident during 35 years of unblemished practice. The respondent had demonstrated significant insight. She had been open and candid as to her error of judgement. She had accepted full responsibility for her failure and had given clear evidence as to how her lapse in judgement had occurred. The likelihood of repetition was low.
A financial penalty was appropriate and proportionate.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £20,950.
John Parker Swindell
Hearing 13 August 2019
Reasons 4 September 2019
The SDT ordered that the applicant’s application for restoration to the roll should be granted, subject to conditions that he might not (i) practise as a sole practitioner or sole manager or sole owner of an authorised or recognised body; (ii) be a partner or member of a limited liability partnership, legal disciplinary practice or alternative business structure or other authorised or recognised body for five years from the date of the order; (iii) be a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration; (iv) hold client money for five years from the date of the order; (v) be a signatory on any client account; (vi) work as a solicitor other than in employment approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for five years from the date of the order; and that he must (i) inform any prospective employer of those conditions and the reason for their imposition for five years from the date of the order and (ii) attend relevant courses on the SRA Principles 2011, SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 within 12 months of the date of the order; with liberty to either party to apply to vary the above conditions.
On 25 April 2019 the applicant applied for his name to be restored to the roll. He had appeared before the SDT on 30 January 2013 (Case No. 11013-2012). Matters of misconduct had been found proved and he was struck off the roll.
Dishonesty had not been alleged against the applicant. He had done all he could to restore his reputation.
Taking into account all of the circumstances, the SDT considered that the applicant had demonstrated that he was a fit and proper person for readmittance to the roll. Public confidence in the legal profession would not be undermined by the applicant returning to the profession as a solicitor.
There was some risk to the public if the applicant were readmitted without stringent conditions in place.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £3,000.
Nicola Hoskin (practising as PMN Law
On 9 October 2019, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into the above-named recognised sole practice of Nicola Anastasia Hoskin, PMN Law, of 168/170 Chaddock Lane, Worsley, Manchester M28 1DF.
The grounds for intervention were:
- there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Maria Quinn, an employee of the firm, in connection with the firm’s practice – Paragraph 1(1)(a)(ii) Schedule 1, Part I, Solicitors Act 1974;
- Hoskin had breached the SRA Principles 2011 and the SRA Accounts 2011 – paragraph 1(1)( c) Schedule 1, Part I, Solicitors Act 1974.
The intervention agent was Sean Joyce of Stephensons, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan WN3 5BA, tel: 0333 344 4776; email: email@example.com.
Hoskin’s practising certificate was automatically suspended as a result of the intervention.