Decisions filed recently with the Law Society, which may be subject to appeal

Jonathan Ippazio De Vita, Christopher John Platt and Emily Scott
Application 11696-2017
Hearing 4-7 December 2018
Reasons 24 January 2019

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 2007), the second respondent (admitted 2009) and the third respondent (admitted 2014) should each be struck off the roll. 

Rule 5 Statement dated 31 October 2017

The second respondent had breached principles 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011 and rules 6, 17.2 and 20.3 of the SRA Solicitors Accounts Rules 2011. He had acted dishonestly. 

He had breached principle 8 and failed to achieve outcomes 7.6 and 7.8 of the SRA Code of Conduct. He had acted recklessly. 

The third respondent had breached principles 2, 3, 6 and 7 and failed to achieve outcome 10.4. 

The first respondent had breached principles 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 and failed to achieve outcomes 7.3, 7.5 and 11.4. He had acted dishonestly. 

He had breached principles 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10. He had acted recklessly. 

He had breached principle 10 and rules 6, 17.2 and 20.3 of the 2011 rules. He had acted recklessly. 

He had breached principle 8 and failed to achieve outcomes 7.6 and 7.8 of the 2011 code. He had acted recklessly.

Rule 7 Statement dated 4 December 2017

The first respondent had breached principles 2 and 6. He had acted dishonestly. 

The second respondent had breached principles 2, 4, 6 and 7. He had acted dishonestly.

The third respondent had breached principles 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. She had acted dishonestly. 

Rule 7 Statement dated 17 September 2018

The second respondent had breached principles 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10 and rules 1.2(c), 20.1 and 20.6 of the 2011 rules. He had acted dishonestly. 

The first respondent had breached principles 2, 4, 6 and 7. 

The first respondent had a high level of culpability. His misconduct was at the highest level and the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off. There were no exceptional circumstances that would make such an order unjust in his case.

A very high level of culpability also attached to the second respondent. His misconduct was at the highest level and the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off. There were no exceptional circumstances that would make such an order unjust in his case.

The third respondent’s culpability was substantially lower than that of the first and second respondents. Her misconduct was at the highest level and the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off. 

Her misconduct would very likely not have occurred but for the actions of the second respondent. She had been very junior in the firm and had undoubtedly found herself in a difficult position. 

However she had allowed herself to be persuaded to carry out instructions given to her by the second respondent, which she must have known were in breach of her professional obligations, and had allowed serious misconduct to go unreported for nearly two years, during which time clients remained at significant risk of loss. 

There were no exceptional circumstances that would make a strike-off unjust in her case.

The first and second respondents were ordered to pay costs of £143,457 on a joint and several basis. The third respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,077.

Roger Brian Allanson
Application 11815-2018
Admitted 1986
Hearing 20 December 2018
Reasons 16 January 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £17,000.

By allowing the client account of Allansons LLP to be used to administer payments in respect of debt management plans when there was no underlying legal transaction, the respondent had breached principles 6, 7 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011 and rule 14.5 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.

By allowing improper payments in the total sum of £890.90 to be made out of the firm’s client account he had breached principles 6 and 8 and rule 20.1 of the 2011 rules.

He had caused or permitted a sum in excess of £600,000 representing fees for work to be undertaken by the firm to be held in the client account and not in the office account in breach of principles 6 and 7 and rule 14.2 of the 2011 rules.

By paying, or allowing, client money to be paid into the office account not the client account, he had breached principles 7 and 8 and rule 14.1 of the 2011 rules.

By allowing client ledgers to have an overdrawn balance, he had breached principles 6, 7 and 8 and rule 20.6 of the 2011 rules.

Being manager of the firm, he had failed to maintain accounting records properly written up, in breach of principles 7 and 8 and rules 1.2(e) and 29.1 of the 2011 rules.

He had failed to conduct client account reconciliations every five weeks as required by the 2011 rules, thereby breaching principles 6, 7 and 8 and rule 29.1 of the 2011 rules.

By failing to manage the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles, he had breached principles 6 and 8.

By failing to comply with his legal and regulatory obligations to provide all information and documentation requested by the Legal Ombudsman as part of the investigation into a complaint against his firm, he had breached principle 7 and failed to achieve outcome 10.6 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

By failing to respond to an explanation with warning letter dated 9 March 2018 from the Solicitors Regulation Authority asking for an explanation of his failure to cooperate with the Legal Ombudsman, he had breached principle 7 and failed to achieve outcome 10.6 of the 2011 code.

The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure.

The respondent’s misconduct was as a result of his inadvertence and there was no improper motive. Given his experience, the respondent had behaved carelessly and irresponsibly. There had been no loss caused to clients.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

Mohammed Patel
Application 11815-2018
Admitted 2003
Hearing 19 December 2018
Reasons 15 January 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £10,000. 

By allowing the client account of Allansons LLP to be used to administer payments in respect of debt management plans when there was no underlying legal transaction, the respondent had breached principles 6, 7 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011 and rule 14.5 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. 

By allowing improper payments in the total sum of £890.90 to be made out of the firm’s client account he had breached principles 6 and 8 and rule 20.1 of the rules. 

He had caused or permitted a sum in excess of £600,000 representing fees for work to be undertaken by the firm to be held in the client account and not in the office account, in breach of principles 6 and 7 and rule 14.2 of the rules. 

By paying, or allowing, client money to be paid into the office account not the client account, he had breached principles 7 and 8 and rule 14.1 of the rules. 

By allowing client ledgers to have an overdrawn balance, he had breached principles 6, 7 and 8 and rule 20.6 of the rules.

Being manager of the firm, he had failed to maintain accounting records properly written up, in breach of principles 7 and 8 and rules 1.2(e) and 29.1 of the rules. 

He had failed to conduct client account reconciliations every five weeks as required by the rules, thereby breaching principles 6, 7 and 8 and rule 29.1 of the rules.

By failing to manage the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles he had breached principles 6 and 8. 

The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure. 

The respondent’s misconduct was as a result of his inadvertence and there was no improper motive. There had been no loss caused to clients.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £7,500.

Parvez Akther
Application 11817-2018
Admitted 1996
Hearing 8 January 2019
Reasons 17 January 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.

Between January 2013 and March 2014, during a period of suspension from practice, the respondent had conducted litigation through A&C Legal Services in breach of principles 1, 2, 6 and 7 of the SRA Principles 2011 and rule 1.1 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011. He had acted dishonestly.

The respondent had completed and submitted misleading documents to the court, using the name of another firm of solicitors, thereby breaching principles 1, 2 and 6 and failing to achieve outcome 5.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. He had acted dishonestly.

The respondent had been motivated by a desire to get around his suspension and earn money.

The harm caused to his client was that his claim had been struck out. In addition, Mr S had been dragged into the case by having to attend a wasted costs hearing on a matter with which his firm had no involvement.

The respondent’s misconduct was at the highest level and the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off. There were no exceptional circumstances that would make such an order unjust in the present case.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £9,789.