• Application 11680-2017
  • Admitted 1990
  • Hearing 10 January 2018
  • Reasons 20 February 2018

The SDT ordered that the appellant’s appeal under section 44E of the Solicitors Act 1974 should be dismissed and the decision of the adjudication panel affirmed.

The adjudication panel’s decision had upheld the decision of the adjudicator that the appellant had failed to carry out client account reconciliations at least every five weeks in accordance with rule 29.12 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011; that she had failed to cooperate with the SRA in breach of principle 7 of the SRA Principles 2011; that, as the firm’s COFA, she had failed in breach of rule 8.5(e) of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 to take all reasonable steps to (a) ensure compliance with rule 29.12 of the Accounts Rules and (b) record any failures to comply with the rules. The adjudicator rebuked the appellant, fined her £2,000 and ordered publication.

The appellant sought an order that the decisions of the adjudicator and the adjudication panel should be quashed. It was her case that the factual basis for making the decisions against her was flawed. The respondent had dealt with her in an unfair and biased manner, and had failed to exercise its discretion fairly and appropriately.

Further, its discretion had not been exercised for a proper purpose. The decision of the adjudicator was wrong in fact and law. The panel had failed to carry out an effective review of that decision and accordingly had adopted the said decision wrongfully.

Having reviewed the documents that were before the panel and heard the representations made by the appellant and for the respondent, the SDT had concluded that the decision was not unjust. There had been no serious procedural or other irregularity that meant that the panel’s decision should be quashed, nor was the decision wrong. The decision and conclusions of the panel were not outside the bounds within which reasonable disagreement was possible.

The appellant was ordered to pay costs of £13,000.