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

Nigel Martin Kinder

Application 12128-2020

Admitted 1983

Hearing 21 December 2020

Reasons 12 January 2021

The SDT ordered the respondent to pay a fine of £8,000.

The respondent had failed to disclose all material facts when completing a proposal form for after-the-event insurance, in breach of rules 1.04 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007.

He had signed, together with his client, an acceptance of quotation document for after-the-event insurance in which he made the following declaration: ‘I/We declare that the information and statements on the proposal (referred to in the allegation above) are true to the best of my/our belief and I/We have not missed out any information or facts which are likely to affect a decision to provide cover and that there are no material facts which have changed since the proposal was submitted….’ when that was untrue, in breach of rule 1.06 of the code.

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 that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made.

The respondent’s misconduct was a single incident in a previously unblemished career. There was no evidence of repetition, bad faith or dishonesty. Further, the respondent had not concealed his conduct from his client.

A financial penalty was appropriate. The parties had submitted that a fine in the sum of £8,000 was appropriate and proportionate to the respondent’s misconduct. The SDT agreed that the proposed fine adequately reflected the seriousness of the respondent’s misconduct.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

Edward John Harvey Statham

Application 12125-2020

Admitted 2006

Hearing 21 December 2020

Reasons 12 January 2021

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £20,000.

While in practice as a solicitor at Inghams, the respondent had signed a secured lending agreement and a CH1 form confirming that client A had signed both documents in his presence, when he did not witness client A signing one or both documents and did not ask client A whether he had signed one or both documents, thereby breaching principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 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 that the respondent’s admission had been properly made.

The respondent was an experienced solicitor who knew that he should not have signed a document attesting to have witnessed a signature when that was not the case.

The respondent had admitted his misconduct at an early stage and had demonstrated insight into his misconduct. It was a single episode in an otherwise unblemished career.

A financial penalty was appropriate and proportionate. A fine in the proposed sum of £20,000 adequately and proportionately reflected the seriousness of the respondent’s  misconduct.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £16,350.

Davinderjit Singh, Kunal Ahir and Mukhtiar Singh Ubhi

Application 12026-2019

Hearing 7-9 December 2020

Reasons 12 January 2021

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 2008) should pay a fine of £8,000. It further ordered that the second (admitted 2012) and third (admitted 2005) respondents should each pay a fine of £1,500.

The first, second and third respondents had failed to have a proper record of the firm’s accounts, thereby breaching principles 6, 8 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011, and rules 1.2(f), 29.1, 29.2, 29.4 and 29.9 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 2011.

They had failed to keep client and office money separate, thereby breaching principles 6 and 8, and rules 1.2(a), 14.2 and 17.9 of the rules.

They had failed to carry out accurate reconciliations, thereby breaching principles 6, 8 and 10, and rule 29.12 of the rules.

They had not run their firm with proper governance principles, thereby breaching principles 6 and 8, and failing to achieve outcome 7.1 of the Code of Conduct 2011.

They had inappropriately charged clients variable sums for filling out a standard form, and a sum to pay for its indemnity insurance, thereby breaching principles 4, 6 and 8, and failing to achieve outcomes 1.1 and 1.13 of the code.

The first respondent had gone on holiday in February 2018 without leaving anyone qualified to supervise staff, thereby breaching principles 6 and 8, and failing to achieve outcomes 7.1 and 7.8 of the code.

The first respondent, as the compliance officer for finance and administration, had not ensured compliance with the accounts rules and had not reported breaches to the SRA. The first respondent had therefore breached principles 6 and 8, and rule 8.5(e) of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011.

The first respondent’s misconduct had arisen as a result of his failure to pay proper regard to his obligations as a partner to manage the firm and its accounts in accordance with the SAR and Principles. He had focused on client work but not on the management of the firm. The SDT accepted that there was no malign motivation on his part.

His misconduct was not such that there should be any interference with his ability to practise. A financial penalty was appropriate and proportionate in all the circumstances. A fine of £8,000 adequately and proportionately reflected the seriousness of his misconduct.

There was no distinction between the misconduct of the second and third respondents. Their misconduct had arisen as a result of their failure to pay proper regard to their obligations as partners to ensure the firm and its accounts were being properly managed in accordance with the SAR and Principles. They had abrogated all responsibility for the running and management of the firm to the first respondent.

A fine of £1,500 each appropriately and adequately reflected the seriousness of the second and third respondents’ misconduct.

The first respondent was ordered to pay costs of £25,550; the second and third respondents were each ordered to pay costs of £4,725.