Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Jared Donald Bailey
Hearing 27 April 2021
Reasons 4 May 2021
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that the applicant’s application for the variation of a condition imposed by the SDT on 12 November 2015 should be refused.
While the applicant was a sole practitioner practising under the name JB Law, the SDT had found that he had breached rules 7, 22(1), 22(5), 32(1), 32(2) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998, and rules 7, 20.1, 20.6, 29.1, 29.2, 29.12 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, thereby acting contrary to rules 1.04 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007, and principles 4, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011, and that he had failed to deliver accountant’s reports beyond that for the period ending 31 July 2011 in breach of rule 32 of the SRA AR 2011.
The relevant part of the sanction imposed for the present application was that the applicant be subject to an indefinite condition that he ‘might not practise as a sole practitioner, partner or member of a limited liability partnership, legal disciplinary practice or alternative business structure’. He sought the removal of that condition.
The applicant reminded the SDT that the condition on his practice had been in place for seven consecutive practising years during which time he had demonstrably shown that he did not pose a risk to the public. No regulatory concerns had been raised against him since 2015. He stated that (a) he ‘wish[ed] to recover [his] pride and dignity’ and (b) that his child was presently 16 years of age and he hoped to support her financially through university.
He had learned from his experience. The underlying misconduct was an isolated sequence of events caused by exceptional circumstances at the material time, both personal and financial, which did not reflect his character.
The SDT was not satisfied that the applicant had demonstrated genuine insight into his previous failings. It saw no evidence of his having taken it upon himself to address those previous failings. He had not discharged the burden on him to satisfy the SDT on a balance of probabilities that the previous misconduct would not reoccur if the condition on his practice was removed.
While the SDT accepted that the applicant held no financial duties in his current role, if the condition on his practice was removed and he were to gain further employment (which included access to the firm’s accounts) or to revisit his decision to set up his own firm in the future, the risk to the public and the profession would remain, and the application was accordingly refused.
The applicant was ordered to pay costs of £1,469.