• Application 11597-2017
  • Hearing 13-15 March 2018
  • Reasons 11 April 2018

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 2005) and the second respondent (admitted 2011) should each be struck off the roll.

The first respondent, while a partner at Isaac Abrahams Solicitors, had failed properly to supervise and/or manage overall the conduct of 37 noise-induced hearing loss claims resulting in those claims being struck out, in breach of principles 4 and 5 of the SRA Principles 2011. In a witness statement served in the course of litigation involving her client, P, she had made a misleading statement in breach of principle 2. She had acted with manifest incompetence.

She had failed properly to supervise and/or manage overall the conduct of her client N’s claim, resulting in that claim being struck out, in breach of principles 4 and 5.  

In a letter to the court regarding her client N, she had made a misleading statement in breach of principles 1 and 2. She had acted dishonestly.

In a particulars of claim in the case of her client T, served and filed with the court and her opponent, she had made a misleading statement verified with a statement of truth, in breach of principles 1 and 2. She had acted recklessly.

In that particulars of claim she had made a misleading statement verified with a statement of truth that she was authorised by her client T to sign the statement of truth, in breach of principles 1 and 2. She had acted recklessly.

She had filed a signed witness statement containing a number of false and/or misleading statements in support of an application on behalf of her client G, in breach of principles 1 and 2. She had acted recklessly.

She had failed to ensure that effective systems of management and supervision were in place to ensure that client matters that she supervised were properly conducted and that each client whose matters she supervised was provided with accurate information regarding their case, in breach of principle 8.

In supervising and managing overall the matter of C, the first respondent had failed to ensure that effective systems were in place to prevent the second respondent from: serving a false and misleading witness statement; failing to comply with directions in a court order, which led to the striking out of C’s claim; failing to inform C that his claim had been struck out due to the firm’s failure to comply with the directions; and failing fully to advise C that the circumstances would not be covered by his ATE insurance, and that the matter could be dealt with by the firm’s indemnity insurance. She had thereby breached principles 4, 5, 6 and 8.  

In supervising and managing overall the matter of KG, she had failed to ensure that effective systems were in place to prevent the second respondent from signing a statement of truth and serving responses to a part 18 request on behalf of KG that contradicted her client’s factual instructions in material respects; obtaining from KG, and serving on her opponent in litigation, a materially misleading witness statement signed by KG. She had thereby breached principles 4, 5, 6 and 8.

The second respondent, while an employee of the firm, had sought to mislead her opponent in litigation where she was acting for KG by signing a statement of truth and serving responses to a part 18 request on behalf of KG that she knew contradicted her client’s factual instructions in material respects, in breach of principles 1 and 2. She had acted dishonestly.

The second respondent had misled KG and sought to mislead her opponent in litigation by procuring and then serving a materially misleading witness statement signed by KG in breach of principles 1 and 2. She had acted dishonestly.

She had been complicit in the first respondent seeking to mislead the court, in breach of principles 1 and 2. She had acted dishonestly.

While acting for C she had served a false and misleading witness statement in breach of principles 1, 2, 4 and 6. She had acted dishonestly.

While so acting she had failed to comply with directions in a court order which led to the court striking out C’s claim; failed to inform C that his claim had been struck out due to the firm’s failure to comply with the directions; and failed fully to advise C that the circumstances would not be covered by his ATE insurance, and that the matter could be dealt with by the firm’s indemnity insurance, in breach of principles 4, 5 and 6.

The first respondent’s motivation had been to cover up her own mistakes. There had been systemic failures at the firm which had resulted in claims being struck out. The only appropriate sanction was a strike-off. The second respondent’s motivation had been to protect the first respondent as well as herself. Her conduct was reactive to the failings of the first respondent but that did not lessen the second respondent’s culpability. Again, the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off.

The first respondent was ordered to pay costs of £50,000; the second respondent £25,000.