• Naomi Hazle Frieda Duxbury-Tetley
  • Application 11622-2017
  • Admitted 2010
  • Hearing 12, 13 July 2017
  • Reasons 24 August 2017

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be reprimanded, and further that she should be subject to the following conditions: (1) for three years, if she worked as a solicitor in the legal profession, she might only work in employment where she was supervised by a solicitor of not less than 10 years’ standing; (2) she had to notify her current employer and any future employers she might have within the legal profession of these conditions for the duration of the three-year period; (3) she had to notify the SRA of the details of her supervisor as set out in (1); (4) she had to notify the SRA if she changed employer within the legal profession within seven days of the date of any change.

In September 2015, in the course of a personal injury claim, the respondent had created a backdated letter that contained statements which she knew to be untrue in order to mislead, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

At a relief from sanction hearing, she had presented and relied on the backdated letter with the intention of misleading counsel and the judge, in breach of principles 1, 2 and 6.

She had forwarded or allowed a copy of the backdated letter to be forwarded to D Claims Ltd with the intention to mislead, in breach of principles 2 and 6.

She had caused and/or permitted the firm to rely on the backdated letter, in breach of principle 6.

The medical evidence in the case made it unique and wholly exceptional. In the medical report Professor Rix had stated: ‘… I am therefore of the opinion that the practitioner’s state of mind was such that she would have been unable competently to use understanding and to think calmly and rationally about the nature and consequences of her actions. In her state of [medical condition] she was anything but calm or composed. She would not have been able to think of all of the different reasons which as a moral person and professional solicitor she would otherwise have done.’

While the respondent had had direct control over her actions, she did not have an awareness of her responsibilities to the court, or an understanding of the consequences. Her level of culpability was negligible.

Her employer had indicated that she wished to continue to employ the respondent and was willing to supervise and support her. A restriction order would ensure the respondent was properly supervised by an appropriately qualified solicitor and continued to receive appropriate treatment for her medical condition.

The respondent’s misconduct had been extremely grave and had it not been for the strong medical evidence, the outcome would have been quite different and far more serious. She was ordered to pay costs of £5,000.