• Application 11792-2018
  • Admitted 2000
  • Hearing 22 May 2018
  • Reasons 13 June 2018

The SDT ordered that the conditions imposed by it on the applicant on 22 May 2013 be varied and that he be subject to the conditions that he might not practise as a sole practitioner or be a sole signatory on any client account for the fixed period of two years from 22 May 2018.

In May 2013 the applicant had admitted breaches of rule 19 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998 and rules 1.02, 1.04 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007.

The applicant had been suspended from practice for three years save that the period of suspension be suspended subject to the following conditions: that he might not practise as a sole practitioner, partner, member or manager of a recognised body, LLP, LDP or ABS or hold client money. He might only work as a solicitor in employment approved by the SRA, and had to attend an approved SRA Accounts Rules 2011 course within 12 months.

In February 2018, the applicant had applied to remove the restrictions imposed on his practising certificate.

The conduct complained of had taken place in 2010. The applicant had been in employment since that time and had been subject to the conditions on his practising certificate imposed by the SRA and the restrictions imposed by the SDT throughout that time. There had been no regulatory concerns regarding his conduct since the restrictions had been imposed. He had demonstrated insight into and remorse for his conduct.

The SDT shared the respondent’s concern about allowing the applicant to be a sole practitioner. The risk profile for sole practitioners was inherently greater. It was necessary for the protection of the public and the reputation of the profession to continue to impose restrictions on the applicant’s practising certificate, namely that he might not practise as a sole practitioner nor be a sole signatory on any client account. All other conditions imposed by the SDT on 22 May 2013 could be and were removed.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £1,213.