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

Habibullah Khan

  • Application 11538-2016
  • Admitted 2008
  • Hearings 1, 2 March 2017
  • Reasons 28 March 2017

While in practice as the principal of HK Solicitors, the respondent had:

  • Between 30 July 2013 and 1 April 2015, breached rules 13.1 and 14.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, principles 2, 8 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011, and outcome O(7.4) of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, and in so doing had acted dishonestly;
  • During 2015, breached rules 29.1 and 29.2 of the rules and principles 8 and 10;
  • Between 30 July 2013 and 1 April 2015, breached rule 14.3 of the rules  and principles 5, 8 and 10;
  • Between 14 October 2014 and 11 May 2015, breached rules 17.1 and 19.1(b) of the rules, and principles 8 and 10;
  • Between 12 February 2015 and 11 May 2015, breached rule 7.1 of the rules and principles 2, 8 and 10;
  • In his capacity as the firm’s compliance officer for finance and administration, breached rule 8.5 of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011;
  • Breached principles 2 and 6, and in so doing acted dishonestly; and
  • Breached principles 2 and 7 and failed to achieve outcome 10.2 of the code, and in so doing acted dishonestly.

The respondent’s motivation had been to keep the firm afloat and not personal enrichment. Although there was no evidence of harm caused to individual clients, the potential for financial loss was always present when a solicitor failed to adhere to his obligations under the accounts rules.

The 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 £7,000.