• Application 11507-2016
• Hearing 29 November-1 December 2016
• Reasons 22 December 2016
The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 2012) should be struck off the roll; and that the second respondent (a recognised body incorporated in 2011) should pay a fine of £7,500.
On 3 February 2014, the first respondent had represented to a director of his employer that he had emailed a client care letter to AN on 27 December 2013, when he had not sent such an email and/or letter; and for the purpose of covering up his omission in failing to send a client care letter to AN, he had sent to that director a false client care letter which he claimed had been sent to AN on 27 December 2013. He had thereby breached principles 2 and 6 of the principles, and had acted dishonestly.
On 29 January 2014, the first respondent had stated in correspondence to an employment tribunal that further and better particulars of his client AR’s claim had been sent to the respondent in AR’s case, when such particulars had not been so sent. He had thereby breached principles 1, 2 and 6, and had acted recklessly.
On 14 January 2014, the first respondent had failed without good reason to attend a judicial mediation on behalf of his client, JM, which had been ordered by an employment tribunal, in breach of principles 1, 4, 5 and 6.
The first respondent had failed to comply with an employment tribunal’s order of 23 January 2014 requiring his client ZA to file further particulars of his claim within one week of receipt of the order, resulting in ZA’s claim being struck out, in breach of principles 1, 4, 5 and 6.
The first respondent had failed to provide, within a reasonable time or at all, advice required by his client KW, in breach of principles 4, 5 and 6.
The first respondent had failed to take reasonable steps to protect the interests of his client SH in the absence of detailed instructions from SH, and in particular had failed to attend a preliminary hearing in relation to SH’s case on 28 January 2014 of which he was, or ought reasonably to have been aware, in breach of principles 4, 5 and 6.
The first respondent had failed to inform either SH, or his employer, that SH’s claim had been struck out on 28 January 2014, in breach of principles 4, 5 and 6.
The second respondent had failed to operate an adequate system for the supervision of the first respondent’s matters, in breach of principles 4 and 8.
The second respondent had failed to provide a good standard of service to clients AN, JM, ZA, KW and SH, in breach of principles 4, 5 and 6.
The first respondent had been completely incompetent and had become like a ‘rabbit caught in headlights’. The dishonesty relating to the sending of the client care letter was planned but much of the misconduct had arisen from the chaotic way in which he was working. The first respondent had then sought to conceal his wrongdoing.
He had shown very limited insight if any and even at the hearing had sought to blame others. He had not made early and frank admissions but had engaged with the SRA and the proceedings.
The second respondent’s misconduct was repeated and the lack of supervision had lasted from when the first respondent had started at the firm until he left. The supervision that did occur was reactive and not appropriate for a junior solicitor.
The second respondent had altered the way in which it supervised employees, with a far more robust system.
The first respondent was ordered to pay costs of £10,000; the second respondent costs of £20,000.