• Application 11554-2016
• Admitted 2001
• Hearing 9 February 2017
• Reasons 2 March 2017
By virtue of her conviction on indictment of one count of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT, contrary to section 72(1) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994, the respondent had breached principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
It was a very serious matter for a solicitor to be convicted of fraud. The VAT had not been paid over a five-and-a-half year period, which was a long period. The respondent had not been found to be a credible witness and it was difficult to believe that her conduct had not been deliberate.
The respondent had not shown any genuine insight and had still not accepted responsibility for her actions, continuing to blame others and the lack of a payment plan. In the light of that, a suspension was not a sufficient sanction to reflect the seriousness of the misconduct, or to protect the public and the reputation of the legal profession.
The appropriate and proportionate sanction in the present case, in order to protect the public and the reputation of the profession, was to strike the respondent’s name off the roll. Trust was a fundamental tenet of the solicitors’ profession and it would not be acceptable for a solicitor convicted of the fraudulent evasion of VAT to be allowed to continue to practise.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £3,582.