Michael Kidwell Horne

  • Application 11534-2016
  • Admitted 2006
  • Hearing 3 May 2017
  • Reasons 19 June 2017

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for three months from 3 May 2017, and that he should pay a fine of £20,000.

In conducting the defence of county court proceedings brought against the firm – of which he was a director – by Ms FD, the respondent had breached principles 1 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 and failed to achieve outcomes 5.1 and 5.6 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

In the course of mediation negotiations in the FD proceedings, the respondent had breached principles 1 and 6.

In the L-M proceedings, the respondent had recklessly misled the court, and had thereby breached principles 1 and 6 and failed to achieve outcomes 5.1, 5.3 and 5.6.

By identifying himself as a grade A fee-earner when he did not have the requisite eight years’ post qualification experience, the respondent had allowed the court to be recklessly misled, and had thereby breached principles 2 and 6 and failed to achieve outcome 5.1 and 5.6.

The respondent had caused or allowed a demand for payment of £1,237.20 to be made to Mr and Mrs B-H when his firm was not entitled to that sum, and had thereby breached principle 6 and failed to achieve outcome 11.1.

The respondent had caused or allowed correspondence to be sent to Mr and Mrs B-H, which had breached principles 2 and 6 and failed to achieve outcome 11.1.

The respondent had engaged in discussion relating to current litigation with a party to that litigation, in circumstances where that party should not have been approached directly, and had thereby breached principles 1 and 6 and failed to achieve outcome 11.1.

Serious misconduct of the sort considered in the present case required a severe sanction. A combination of suspension and a fine was appropriate.

Giving the respondent credit for the fact that it was his first appearance before the SDT, and that the last known misconduct was in the summer of 2014, the SDT determined that he should be suspended for three months.

A fine of £30,000 would be reasonable on the facts of the case, but it was reduced to £20,000 because of the suspension.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £40,000.