• Application 11519-2016
• Admitted 2011
• Hearing 8 November 2016
• Reasons 12 December 2016
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.
The respondent had failed to answer a question put to her by her employer on 28 May 2015 concerning her ability to practise as a solicitor with proper frankness and candour, and had thereby breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. In so doing, she had acted dishonestly.
Following the suspension of her practising certificate on 10 April 2015, she had nevertheless continued to practise as a solicitor up until 24 July 2015, contrary to rules 9.1 and 9.2 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011, and had thereby breached principles 2 and 6.
She had failed to keep proper accounting records in respect of a recognised body of which she was the sole director, to show accurately the position with regard to money held for each client and trust, in breach of rule 1.2(f) of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.
She had failed to keep properly written-up accounting records at all times in respect of a recognised body of which she was the sole director, and to retain copies of the same for at least six years in accordance with rule 29 of the rules.
She had retained a mixed payment of £5,855 received from Allianz in office account from 17 September 2014 until 29 April 2015 (at the earliest) in breach of rules 14.3 and 18.2 of the rules.
She had failed to produce documents, information and explanations as requested by the applicant on 10 September 2015 and 16 September 2015 and had thereby breached rule 31 of the rules.
Between 13 October 2014 and 21 November 2014, she had failed to respond to communications and correspondence from the SRA in relation to the closure of the firm of Craig & Co Law Ltd and had thereby breached principle 7, and had failed to attain outcome O(10.6) prescribed by the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
She had failed to comply with a notice pursuant to section 44B of the Solicitors Act 1974 as amended, served upon her on 21 November 2014, and had thereby breached principle 7, and failed to attain outcomes O(10.6), O(10.8), and O(10.9) prescribed by the code.
Not only had the respondent acted dishonestly, but she had placed her own interests above those of her employer, and any clients she might have had. While her dishonesty related to the manner in which she had answered the questions put to her by her employer, her answer had been disingenuous and a sophistry.
She had a previously unblemished career.
In view of the serious nature of the misconduct, in that it had involved dishonesty, the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was to strike the respondent off the roll. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £9,500.