Susan Anita Barrington-Binns

  • Application 11523-2016
  • Admitted 1999
  • Hearing 7 March 2017
  • Reasons 29 March 2017

The SDT ordered, as judgment on an agreed outcome between the SDT and the respondent, that the respondent should be suspended from practice as a solicitor for 12 months from 7 March 2017.

Upon the expiry of that fixed term of suspension the respondent should be subject to the following conditions: that she might not be a recognised sole practitioner, manager or owner of an authorised or recognised body; be a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration or money laundering reporting officer for a sole practitioner or authorised body; be a sole signatory on any client account or have the power to be able to solely authorise electronic transfers from client account; that she should inform any actual or prospective employer of those conditions and the reasons for them; and that there be liberty to either party to apply to vary the conditions.

Between April 2013 and May 2015, she had failed to ensure accounting records of her firm were properly written up, in breach of rules 1(e), 1(f) and 29.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and principles 7 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011.

As a result of that failure she had breached rules 29.2 and 29.4 of the 2011 Rules.

Between April 2013 and May 2015 she had failed to carry out bank account reconciliations in breach of rules 29.12 and 29.13 of the 2011 rules and principles 7 and 8; and had failed to hold client money in accordance with the requirements of part 2 of the 2011 rules and in breach of rules 1.2(a) and (b), 13.1, 13.2, 13.8, 14.1 and 15.1 thereof and principles 7 and 8.

In her capacity as the firm’s COFA she had failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the firm’s regulatory obligations in respect of the 2011 rules, in breach of rule 8.5(e)(i) of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011.

She had provided a banking facility to her client Mr DG through her client account in breach of rule 14.5 of the 2011 rules and principle 6.

She had failed to be alert to suspicious features of a transaction in which she had facilitated a payment through her client account to an offshore bank account in breach of principles 3 and 6.

She had failed to have sufficient regard for her duties under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and Law Society’s Blue Card Warning on money laundering in breach of principles 6, 7 and 8.

One year’s suspension would be appropriate and proportionate to reflect the gravity of the misconduct, which had occurred while the respondent was a sole practitioner, in sole charge of the accounts of her firm and its compliance with regulations.

It would be appropriate to impose some restrictions on the respondent’s work in the future.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £6,000.