• Application 11471-2016

• Admitted 1973

• Hearing 17-20 October 2016

• Reasons 23 November 2016

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.

On or around 26 November 2008, when advising two clients in relation to a loan of £100,000 by them to his business, the respondent had failed to insist that they took independent legal advice and had proceeded with the transaction, thereby acting when there was a conflict of interest, contrary to rule 3.01 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007.

On or around 4 December 2008, when advising his clients in respect of a debenture to secure their lending to his business, he had failed to advise them of a material fact, namely that his wife had a prior legal charge which materially impacted on the value of the security being granted, thereby failing to disclose to his clients all information of which he was aware which was material to those clients’ matter, contrary to rule 4.02 of the code.

On or around 28 August 2009, when advising his clients in relation to a loan of £25,000 by them to his business, he had failed to insist that they took independent legal advice and proceeded with the transaction, thereby acting when there was a conflict of interest, contrary to rule 3.01 of the code.

On or around 18 November 2009, when advising his clients in respect of a debenture to secure their lending to his business, he had failed to advise them of a material fact, namely that his wife had a prior legal charge which materially impacted on the value of the security being granted, thereby failing to disclose to his clients all information of which he was aware which was material to those clients’ matter, contrary to rule 4.02 of the rules.

On or around 16 April 2010, he had made a misleading and disingenuous statement to the clients, by stating ‘as previously explained your money is secure in view of the debenture you hold’, in circumstances where he was aware that there was a prior legal charge in favour of his wife which meant that any security that had been given did not actually provide the clients with certainty that they would recover their money, and had thereby failed to act with integrity, contrary to rule 1.02 of the code.

On or around 25 November 2010, he had made a materially false statement to the clients by stating: ‘I really am doing everything I can to resolve this and at the end of the day there are several people in a similar position but you are the only one I have ensured is fully secured and protected…’, in circumstances where he was aware that his wife had also lent money to his business and she also held a prior legal charge, placing her in a similar position, and had thereby failed to act with integrity, contrary to rule 1.02 of the code.

In respect of all of the above, the respondent had acted dishonestly.

The respondent’s motivation was self-interest, primarily financial. His actions were planned and there was an element of breach of trust as he had taken advantage of a client who was also at the time a personal friend. The matters were aggravated by the respondent’s dishonesty.

The misconduct was at the highest level and the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off. There were no exceptional circumstances that would make such an order unjust in the present case.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £78,785.