• Application 11446-2015
• Admitted 1983
• Hearing 4 October 2016
• Reasons 27 October 2016
The SDT, having decided that the present matter should be dealt with by way of agreed outcome, ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. And, pursuant to rule 11(6) of the Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2007, it consented to the withdrawal by the applicant of allegation 8, including the dishonesty allegation in that regard; and the dishonesty allegations in relation to the first and second allegations.
The respondent admitted to the following, while a partner at Penningtons Solicitors LLP:
Between 1 January 2011 and 5 October 2011, he had acted for his client, Mrs JDB, in the drafting of her will, when he was in a personal relationship with DF, who was a significant beneficiary under that will, and had therefore acted when there was a conflict of interest, or a significant risk of a conflict of interest, contrary to rule 3.01 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007.
Between 1 January 2011 and 5 October 2011, he had failed to notify his client, Mrs JDB, when responsible for drafting her will, that he had a duty to advise her to take independent advice about a bequest of a significant amount to DF, who was an employee of the firm, contrary to rule 3.04 of the code.
Between 13 January 2012 and around 30 June 2012, he had exercised the discretion that he held under the will to appoint a legacy of £550,000 in money and other assets to DF, and had thereby acted without integrity, contrary to principle 2 of the SRA Principles 2011; allowed his independence to be compromised, contrary to principle 3; and acted where there was an own interest conflict or significant risk of an own interest conflict, contrary to outcome 3.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
On or around 2 December 2013, he had told material untruths to two investigators of the applicant, by falsely claiming that he was not responsible for the preparation of a deed of appointment relating to the will, and had thereby acted without integrity, contrary to principle 2.
On or around 27 November 2014, he had caused his solicitor, JW, to provide material untruths to a regulatory manager of the applicant, by falsely claiming that he was not responsible for the preparation of a deed of appointment relating to the will, and had thereby acted without integrity, contrary to principle 2.
The respondent admitted allegations 3-7 on the basis that he had acted dishonestly.
In the circumstances, the SDT was satisfied that it was a reasonable and proportionate step for the applicant to withdraw the allegations of dishonesty in respect of allegations 1 and 2 and to withdraw allegation 8. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £56,500, to be paid by 29 November 2016.