• Application 11716-2017
• Hearing 30 November 2017
• Reasons 21 December 2017
The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 1995) and the second respondent (an authorised body) should each pay a fine of £50,000.
The respondents had conducted litigation in the High Court under a conditional fee agreement entered into on 6 October 2010 (the 2010 CFA) which was unlawful and unenforceable insofar as that High Court litigation was concerned, and had submitted invoices and received payments for services pursuant to such agreement.
They had produced to a potential litigation funder (B) a document which contained advice from the firm to client A (the preliminary evaluation), without disclosing that the first draft of the preliminary evaluation had been drafted by one of the owners of the client, and they had made payments from sums held on behalf of litigation funders other than in accordance with the funding agreements pursuant to which such sums were held.
The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure.
The aggravating factors were that the conduct had taken place over a period of time, although it was not deliberate; and the respondents ought reasonably to have known that the conduct complained of was in material breach of their obligations to protect the public and the reputation of the legal profession.
The mitigating factors were that the respondents had avoided or made good any losses arising from the misconduct. They had voluntarily notified the SRA of the facts and circumstances amounting to the breaches identified. Both respondents had a previously long unblemished history, and they had shown genuine insight by making early admissions and cooperating fully with the regulator.
A fine was a sufficient, proportionate and appropriate sanction in the present case. The respondents were each ordered to pay costs of £29,10