Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Alan Joseph Fitzpatrick
Hearing 8 July 2020
Reasons 23 July 2020
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. From 2014, the respondent had caused or allowed the retention in his firm’s office bank account of client monies received in the form of unpaid professional disbursements for periods in excess of two working days, leading to a cash shortage of £485,280.08 in his firm’s client account as at 30 June 2019, in breach of rules 6, 7, 17.1, and 29.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, and principles 2, 6, 8 and 10 of the SRA Principles. He had acted recklessly.
From 2014, he had failed to inform the SRA that his firm was experiencing serious financial difficulties, in breach of principle 7 and outcome 10.3 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
The parties had invited the SDT to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and outcome.
The SDT had reviewed all the material before it and was satisfied to the requisite standard that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made, including the admission as to recklessness.
As a very experienced solicitor, compliance officer for legal practice and owner of the firm, the respondent was highly culpable for the admitted breaches. Those for whom payment of disbursements had been delayed had suffered direct harm and the reputation of the profession had also been harmed by such conduct. The respondent’s firm had benefited directly from the use made of client money. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £20,611.
John Martin Lewis
Hearing 13 July 2020
Reasons 3 August 2020
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.
While in practice as a solicitor at Allington Hughes Limited, the respondent had caused and/or permitted the wrong completion date to be reported to the Welsh Revenue Authority to avoid a late registration penalty, thereby breaching principles 2, 6 and 7 of the SRA Principles 2011. He had acted dishonestly.
The parties had invited the SDT to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and proposed outcome.
The SDT had reviewed all the material before it and was satisfied that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made.
Public confidence in the profession and the reputation of the profession required no lesser sanction than that the respondent should be removed from the roll and the proposed sanction was therefore appropriate and proportionate in all the circumstances. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,979.