Halima Maqsood Malik

  • Application 11518-2016
  • Admitted 2006
  • Hearing 25 September 2017
  • Reasons 17 October 2017

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £8,000. It further ordered that she might not (i) practise as a sole practitioner or sole manager or sole owner of an authorised or recognised body; (ii) be a partner or member of a limited liability partnership, legal disciplinary practice or alternative business structure or other authorised or recognised body; (iii) be a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration, with liberty to either party to apply to vary those conditions.

In breach of principles 2 and 7 of the SRA Principles 2011, the respondent had provided misleading information in an insurance proposal form dated 15 August 2014 about the firm’s gross fee income; the firm’s dealings with the SRA; whether any fee-earner in the firm had had an award made against them by the Legal Ombudsman; whether any fee-earner in the firm had entered into a regulatory settlement agreement with the SRA; and whether any fee-earner in the firm had ever been the subject of ‘an Independent Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or other arrangement’ (sic).

The respondent’s motivation for the misconduct was unclear. As it was a case of omission rather than commission there might have been no motivation.

Overall, her culpability was not very high, and a fine was the appropriate sanction.

Although the respondent had said she had genuine insight, that was not evident. She had sought to distance herself from the responsibility, which she had latterly accepted fell upon her, to ensure that the firm complied with its legal and regulatory obligations, and had sought to argue that her failures to identify that misleading statements were being made, and to prevent that from happening, did not amount to a breach of the SRA Principles.

The SDT could not have confidence that a similar lack of attention, or rigour in compliance with such responsibilities, would not be repeated. A restriction order was required so that she did not hold certain positions of responsibility.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £28,000.