Application 11750-2017

Hearing 5 July 2018

Reasons 7 August 2018

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 2004) should pay a fine of £15,000, and further that he might not practise as a solicitor on his own account; be a manager or owner of an authorised body; hold or receive client money or act as a signatory to client or office account or have the power to authorise any transfers from client or office account; that he should immediately inform any actual or prospective employer of those conditions and the reason for their imposition; that he might not be a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration for any authorised body; and that there be liberty to either party to apply to vary those conditions.

The SDT ordered that the second respondent (admitted 2011) should pay a fine of £10,000, and that she should be subject to the same conditions as the first respondent. 

The SDT ordered that the third respondent (admitted 2013) should pay a fine of £5,000, and further she might not practise as a solicitor on her own account; be a manager or owner of an authorised body; hold or receive client money or act as a signatory to client or office account or have the power to authorise any transfers from client or office account; that she should immediately inform any actual or prospective employer of those conditions and the reason for their imposition; and that there be liberty to either party to apply to vary those conditions. 

The SDT ordered that the fourth respondent (admitted 2013) should pay a fine of £5,000, and that he should be subject to the same conditions as the third respondent. 

Between April 2011 and January 2017, the dealings of Saints Solicitors LLP with client money were not properly written up in its books of accounts. The first to fourth respondents were all members of that firm and had each thereby breached principles 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011, and rules 29.1, 29.2 and 29.9 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. 

From 20 October 2014, Saints Solicitors had held cash belonging to their client MR otherwise than in the firm’s client account, and the first to fourth respondents had each thereby breached rule 15 of the rules.

As at 19 January 2017, Saints Solicitors had held office money to the value of £10,272.25 in the firm’s client account, and the first to fourth respondents had each thereby breached rule 17.3 of the rules. 

As at 19 January 2017, debit balances to a total value of £28,955.96 had existed on the client account ledgers of 29 clients of Saints Solicitors, and the first to fourth respondents had each thereby breached rule 20.6 of the rules. 

From 2014 onwards, Saints Solicitors had failed to write up its dealings with office money relating to any client matter in the office side of the appropriate client ledger accounts, and the first to fourth respondents had each thereby breached rule 29.4 of the rules. 

On 12 September 2014, the first respondent had made statements within a proposal form for professional indemnity insurance submitted upon behalf of Saints Solicitors which were inaccurate, in breach of principle 6. 

On 22 September 2015, the first respondent had made statements within a proposal form for professional indemnity insurance submitted upon behalf of Saints Solicitors which were inaccurate, in further breach of principle 6. 

On 23 September 2016, the first respondent had made statements within a proposal form for professional indemnity insurance submitted upon behalf of Saints Solicitors which were inaccurate, in further breach of principle 6. 

The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed statement of facts and outcome procedure.

The SDT had reviewed all the material before it and was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the respondents’ admissions were properly made.

Fines in the amounts proposed in respect of each respondent were appropriate. 

Each respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,000.