John Barrie Wilson

  • Application 11542-2016
  • Admitted 1986
  • Hearing 25 April 2017
  • Reasons 4 May 2017

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for an indefinite period from 25 April 2017.

The respondent, when paying debts owed by a company which he controlled, had preferred a creditor to whom he had given a personal guarantee over HMRC, to whom he had not given any personal guarantee, in breach of rule 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007.

The respondent had been disqualified as a company director, in breach of principle 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

The respondent had breached rule 22(1) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998, in the way he had dealt with payment of an award of compensation made by the Legal Complaints Service to his client.

The respondent had allowed non-client monies to be paid into and held in client account without justification, in breach of rule 14.2 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.

The matter was very serious. There were previous findings that the respondent had failed to act in his clients’ best interests. In all of the circumstances, an indefinite period of suspension was fair and proportionate.

While the misconduct was so serious that strike-off was within the range of possible sanctions, it might be that the respondent would respond to retraining so that he was no longer a material risk of harm to the public or to the reputation of the legal profession.

The SDT had had very limited medical evidence before it and could not reach any findings as to whether the respondent’s stated medical condition had contributed to his misconduct, nor had it been asked to do so.

However, any division of the SDT hearing an application to determine the period of indefinite suspension would wish to be reassured as to the respondent’s health and the fact that he had undergone significant retraining.

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