• Application 11674-2017
  • Admitted 2013
  • Hearing 8, 9 January 2018
  • Reasons 24 January 2018

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

The respondent had made, or permitted to be made, improper payments from the client account of LG Law Chambers, leading to a minimum cash shortage of £1,203,276.66 as at 30 October 2015, in breach of rule 20.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and principles 2, 4, 6 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011.

By failing to remedy that shortage on the client account promptly or at all, he had breached rule 7 of the rules.

By failing to redeem six charges over five properties in accordance with undertakings given, he had breached principles 6 and 7 and failed to achieve outcome 11.2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

He had failed to keep properly written-up accounting records, in breach of rules 1.2(e), 1.2(f) and 29.1 of the rules, and principles 6, 7, 8 and 10.

He had failed to have in place a compliance officer for legal practice and a compliance officer for finance and administration, in breach of rule 8.5 of the Authorisation Rules 2011 and principles 6 and 7.

He had failed to disclose information as required by the SRA for the purposes of an inspection of the books of account and other documents of the firm, in breach of rule 31 of the rules and principles 6 and 7.

The respondent’s misconduct had resulted from his irresponsible and wholly unacceptable attitude towards his regulatory obligations. He had completely failed to recognise the significance of being a partner in a firm, and the responsibility that such a role entailed.

In so doing, he had allowed his name to be used by the firm, and had permitted the improper payment of over £1.2m of client monies. While he might not have made all the payments, he had been directly responsible as the sole signatory on the account from which the payments were made.

The compensation fund had received claims of approximately £1.8m, and at the date of the hearing had paid out in excess of £1.2m. The only appropriate and proportionate sanction was to strike the respondent from the roll.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £20,000.