• Application 11669-2017
  • Admitted 1998
  • Hearing 5, 6 December 2017
  • Reasons 16 January 2018

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. 

The respondent had misappropriated the total sum of £170,025 from deputyship accounts relating to four individuals for whom she had been appointed as a deputy by the Court of Protection, in breach of principles 2, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011, rule 20.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, rules 1.02 and 1.06 of the Code of Conduct 2007 and rule 22 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998. She had acted dishonestly.

She had made a statement to an employee of the SRA concerning

the books of account of the firm of Lowe & Co which was untrue and which she knew, or should have known to be untrue, thereby breaching principles 2, 6 and 7 and failing to achieve outcome O(10.6) of the Code of Conduct 2011. She had acted dishonestly.

She had created a memorandum dated 12 July 2013 which contained an untrue record of her dealings with client money and which she knew or should have known to be untrue at the time that she created it, in breach of principles 2 and 6. She had acted dishonestly.

She had taken payment of management costs in relation to her appointment as a deputy by the Court of Protection amounting to a total of £222,258 without seeking detailed assessment of those costs by the Senior Court Costs Office, in breach of principles 6 and 7. She had acted dishonestly.

The SDT had made findings of dishonesty with regard to three serious allegations. There were no exceptional circumstances. Indeed, the dishonesty was very serious, as it involved the misuse of funds belonging to vulnerable clients for whom the respondent had been in a position of trust.

The most reasonable and appropriate sanction was to strike the respondent off the roll. Even without the finding of dishonesty, striking off might well have been the appropriate sanction.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £15,393.