• Application 11608-2017
  • Hearing 22 February 2018
  • Reasons 7 March 2018

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 1985) should pay a fine of £17,500; that the second respondent (admitted 1980), the third respondent (admitted 1984) and the sixth respondent (admitted 1988) should each pay a fine of £15,001; and that the fourth respondent (admitted 1995) and the fifth respondent (admitted 1981) should each pay a fine of £12,500.

1.1 In their respective roles at Cobbetts LLP from June 2012 to February 2013, the respondents were responsible individually and/or collectively for providing misleading information and/or failing to provide material information to one or more of: (i) the SRA, (ii) third-party lender the Wesleyan Building Society, (iii) the insurers Libra and (iv) former member Andrew Wright, and had thereby exhibited manifest incompetence and acted in breach of principle 7 (insofar as it related to the SRA [first and third respondents]) and/or principle 6 (insofar as it relates to third parties [not fifth respondent] and Andrew Wright [not third respondent]) of the SRA Principles 2011.

1.2 From June 2012, by reason of the conduct giving rise to 1.1 above, and by one or more of the following: (i) causing or permitting the firm to be unable to meet its debts; (ii) causing or permitting members’ drawings to exceed profits and (iii) failing to have an appropriate contingency plan in place, the respondents had acted in breach of principle 8 and had exhibited manifest incompetence.

The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure.

The SDT was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the respondents’ admissions had been properly made.

The level of fine proposed for each respondent was appropriate and proportionate having regard to their individual levels of culpability.

The first, second, third, fifth and sixth respondents were each ordered to pay costs of £35,000. The fourth respondent was ordered to pay costs of £15,000.