• Application 11564-2016
• Admitted 2005
• Hearing 2 February 2017
• Reasons 15 February 2017
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £10,000.
Between September 2013 and February 2014, the respondent had signed statements of truth in judicial review claim forms without reading the accompanying grounds of appeal, such grounds being grossly misleading and inaccurate. In doing so, he had acted recklessly and in a manner apt to mislead the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber as to the merits of the individual cases, in breach of principles 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 and outcome 5.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
The respondent had failed adequately to supervise the work of an unadmitted employee, who was responsible for drafting the grounds of appeal in the judicial review claims referred to above, in breach of all or alternatively any of principles 6 and 8.
This was an embarrassing chain of events for the profession. The time of the Upper Tribunal had been wasted in considering inaccurate and possibly misleading grounds of appeal. A solicitor in the respondent’s position should read important documents before signing them, rather than relying on an unadmitted fee-earner, even one with some experience of relevant cases.
The respondent had accepted that his conduct had been reckless and had lacked integrity. His misconduct was clearly serious. However, when matters came to light the respondent had done his best to rectify matters.
There was no risk of repetition of the misconduct. A fine was the appropriate sanction, and £10,000 was both reasonable and proportionate.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £7,500.