Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Sheena Kay Taylor
Hearing 1-3 April 2019
Reasons 30 April 2019
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £7,501, and further that, as from 3 April 2019 except in accordance with Law Society permission, no solicitor should employ or remunerate the respondent in connection with his practice as a solicitor; no employee of a solicitor should employ or remunerate the respondent in connection with the solicitor’s practice; no recognised body should employ or remunerate the respondent; no manager or employee of a recognised body should employ or remunerate the respondent in connection with the business of that body; no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the respondent to be a manager of the body; and no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body should permit the respondent to have an interest in the body.
While employed as a non-solicitor fee-earner by Graham and Rosen Solicitors, the respondent had been guilty of conduct of such a nature that, in the opinion of the SRA, it would be undesirable for her to be involved in a legal practice.
The respondent had acted in relation to and thereby facilitated property development schemes all or any of which were (i) dubious investment schemes or bore hallmarks of fraudulent financial arrangements (ii) collective investment schemes (CIS) within the meaning of section 235 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, or risked being CIS (iii) operated by persons unauthorised by the Financial Services Authority or its successor bodies to operate CIS, contrary to section 19 of the act, or had assisted Solicitor X to do so; thereby breaching rules 1.02 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 and principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. She had been manifestly incompetent.
She had failed to advise investor clients or cause them to be advised adequately or at all, thereby breaching rules 1.02, 1.04, 1.05 and 1.06 of the code and principles 2, 4, 5 and 6. She had been reckless in respect of company N and otherwise manifestly incompetent.
In respect of (at least) the D Scheme, she had failed to protect investor clients’ money, thereby breaching rules 1.02, 1.04, 1.05 and 1.06 of the code and principles 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10. She had been manifestly incompetent.
She had acted or assisted Solicitor X to act for investor clients in respect of the K schemes in conflict of interest situations, thereby breaching: rules 1.02, 1.03, 1.04, 1.06 and 3.01 of the 2007 code; outcomes 3.4 and 3.5 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2011; and principles 2, 3, 4, and 6. She had been manifestly incompetent.
She had advised investor clients, or allowed them to be advised, that they could rely upon company N to insure investments in the schemes against the risk of their failure, thereby breaching rules 1.02, 1.04, 1.05 and 1.06 of the code and principles 2, 4, 5 and 6. She had been reckless.
[Solicitor X referred to above had previously been a respondent in the proceedings, which had been severed, and the case against Solicitor X had been stayed.]
The SDT found that the respondent had not deliberately committed misconduct but rather had done her job badly. She had facilitated and assisted Solicitor X in all of the matters. She was the head of department but was not a solicitor. By her misconduct 882 people had lost a total of almost £53m.
An order under section 43 was necessary for the protection of the public and the reputation of the profession. While the appropriate fine in the case would have been £15,000, due to the respondent’s limited finances it was reduced to £7,501.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £23,500.
Hearing 19 February 2019
Reasons 16 April 2019
The SDT ordered that the appellant’s appeal under section 44E of the Solicitors Act 1974 should be dismissed, and that the decision of the adjudicator dated 9 August 2018 be affirmed.
The appellant, a solicitor, appealed under section 44E of the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended) against a decision of an adjudicator engaged by the Solicitors Regulation Authority dated 9 August 2018.
The adjudicator’s decision stated that the appellant’s conduct had breached principle 7 of the SRA Principles 2011 and had failed to achieve outcomes 10.6 and 10.8 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 by her failure to deal with the SRA in a timely, open and cooperative manner and her failure to comply promptly with a written notice.
The decision reached by the adjudicator was not unjust. There had been no serious procedural or other irregularity requiring the decision to be quashed or varied. The decision was not wrong. The decision and conclusions of the adjudicator were not outside the bounds within which reasonable disagreements were possible.
The appellant’s appeal was therefore dismissed.
The appellant was ordered to pay costs of £3,000.
Ailia David & Co
On 3 May 2019, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into the remainder of the late Mohammed Jahangir Ailia’s practice at Ailia David & Co, formerly based at 758 High Road, Goodmayes, Ilford, Essex IG3 8SY. The ground of intervention was: it was necessary to protect the interests of clients or former clients of Ailia.
No intervention agent has been appointed. The SRA will be making arrangements to take possession of the client account funds and archived files. The intervention letter and notice were served on Mr Ailia’s personal representative on 29 May.