• Application 11605-2017
• Admitted 1988
• Hearing 11-15 December 2017
• Reasons 4 January 2018
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck of the roll.
Having received monies for the purpose of discharging professional disbursements, the respondent had failed either to pay those monies on to the appropriate recipients and/or in the absence of such payments to transfer the monies from office to client account, in breach of rule 17.1 (b) of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.
He had failed to ensure that all dealings with client money were appropriately recorded in breach of rule 29.1 of the rules.
While in practice as a principal of the firm, the respondent had instructed the firm’s legal cashier to effect transfers of funds received in respect of professional disbursements to office account but to then retain the corresponding cheques instead of sending them out to their rightful recipients, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. In so doing, the respondent had acted dishonestly.
The respondent’s culpability for the misconduct was high. His motivation was his desire to alleviate the difficulties that the firm was experiencing regarding its cashflow.
His misconduct was aggravated by his dishonesty. His actions were deliberate, calculated and repeated. The exemplified matters were evidence of a wider practice that had built up over a period of time. He had sought to conceal his wrongdoing by ensuring that an examination of the ledgers would show that monies had been paid when that was not in fact the case.
The seriousness of the respondent’s misconduct was such that the protection of the public and the protection of the reputation of the profession required that he be struck off the roll.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £31,320.