• Application 11483-2016
• Admitted 1991
• Hearing 25 January 2017
• Reasons 10 February 2017
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.
On or about 7 July 2015 the respondent had created two backdated documents dated 30 September 2014 and 1 October 2014, namely a client care letter and bill of costs, with the intention of leading an employee of the Solicitors Regulation Authority to believe that they had been produced and sent to the client on or about 1 October 2014 when they had not, and had thereby breached principles 2, 6 and 7 of the SRA Principles 2011. In so doing he had acted dishonestly.
Between 1 May 2014 and 31 May 2014 he had misappropriated client monies to the value of £15,750 from the client account of Unsworth & Wood and had thereby breached
rule 20.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.
Between 28 August 2014 and 26 September 2014 he had taken payment of £2,574.72 in respect of costs without first sending written notification to his clients in breach of rule 17.2 of the rules.
Between 26 April 2013 and 29 July 2015 he had failed to return client money to the value of £888.75 to his clients when there was no longer any proper reason to retain it and had thereby breached rule 14.3 of the rules.
From 31 October 2014 onwards he had failed to keep the accounting records of his practice properly written up in breach of rule 29.01 of the rules.
From 31 October 2014 onwards, he had failed to complete a reconciliation of client monies held within the client accounts of his practice at least once every five weeks, in breach of rule 29.12 of the rules.
He had delivered an accountant’s report for the period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013, more than six months after the end of that accounting period, in breach of rule 32.1 of the rules.
He had failed to deliver an accountant’s report for the period 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2014, in breach of rule 32.1.
He had failed to comply with a decision of the Legal Ombudsman and had thereby breached principles 4 and 7.
The respondent had found himself in the situation where the forensic investigator was asking for documents that did not exist, and the motivation for the dishonest creation of the documents appeared to be to enable the respondent to get himself out of the predicament he found himself in. The motivation for the other misconduct appeared to be financial.
Dishonesty had been alleged and proved. The misconduct was deliberate and calculated and continued over a period of time.
The respondent had made good the sum of £15,750 by 3 July 2015. No other mitigating factors had been identified.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £15,000.