• Application 11712-2017
  • Hearing 25-29 June 2018
  • Reasons 24 July 2018

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 2011) should be struck off the roll; and that the second respondent (recognised body) should pay a fine of £5,000. 

The first respondent had knowingly caused payments to be claimed in the minimum sum of £11,160 from the Legal Aid Agency, in respect of hearings before the first-tier mental health tribunals which had not taken place as described in his files, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. He had acted dishonestly. 

By altering and adding documents to files to make claims to the LAA appear to have been legitimately claimed when he knew they were not, the first respondent had breached principles 2 and 6. He had acted dishonestly.

The second respondent had failed to have in place any or adequate systems for the supervision of client matters being conducted by the first respondent, thereby breaching principles 6 and 8 and failing to achieve outcomes 7.2 and 7.8 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. 

The first respondent had caused colossal harm to the reputation of the profession, and had caused financial harm to his previous employers. He had wholly departed from the standards of complete integrity, probity and trustworthiness expected of him by the public and his peers. The second respondent had been substantially impacted by his misconduct.

His misconduct was at the highest level, such that the protection of the public and of the profession necessitated his immediate removal from practice. There were no truly compelling and exceptional reasons to impose an indefinite suspension. The only proportionate sanction was to strike him off the roll. 

By failing to ensure that it had proper systems in place, the second respondent had allowed the first respondent’s misconduct to go unchecked. In so doing, it had caused harm to the reputation of the profession. It had taken steps to ensure that such a situation would not arise again. A financial penalty was appropriate. 

The first respondent was ordered to pay costs of £38,142. The second respondent was ordered to pay costs of £10,000.