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Recent SRA and SDT appeals

Recent SRA and SDT appeals

There have been a number of recently reported decisions of the Administrative Court in relation to hearings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and SRA internal decisions..

 



 

Adesemowo v Solicitors Regulation Authority

Dingermans J

Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court), 13 June 2013. This case concerned a decision of the SRA who had concluded that a solicitor who had failed to disclose a conviction and thereafter failed to give a good explanation was not suitable for admission on character grounds.

The Appellant had qualified at the Nigerian Bar and took a postgraduate qualification in the UK. Shortly after arriving in the UK he was convicted of taking a motor vehicle without authority and associated insurance matters. He failed to disclose it in his initial application to the SRA but later did so when he applied for a criminal records check.

 

Although there was no finding of dishonesty or negligence, the SRA decision that the failure to disclose gave rise to a lack of confidence in the Appellant’s character and the decision was upheld.

 

The SDA did not find that there was any dishonesty in this case, following his acquittal at the Crown Court. The Administrative Court found that the SRA had  ‘bent over backwards’ to accommodate the Appellant who had faced difficulties with documentation whilst in Nigeria. The court declined to interfere with the professional judgment of the expert panel that had made findings of fact.



Izuchukwu v Solicitors Regulation Authority

Cranston J.

Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court) 21 June 2013. It was held appropriate to suspend a solicitor from practice for three years and impose subsequent conditions for a failure to keep appropriate accounting methods, and being reckless by closing his eyes to mortgage fraud.

The Appellant sought an order for costs against the SRA but it was not right to say that he had emerged without any criticisms. He had transferred client firms to another unregulated firm. The tribunal was entitled to find that  the proceedings were properly brought by the SRA in exercising it’s regulatory function.

 

Murtagh v Solicitors Regulation Authority

Dingermans J

Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court), 18 June 2013. Following Baxendale – Walker v Law Society [2007] EWCA Civ 233 , the SDT was entitled to make no order for costs in disciplinary proceedings against a non solicitor, where proceedings had properly been brought by the SRA , nothwithstanding the fact that the non solicitor had sought to act in the best interests of his client.

These were breaches that were ‘technical in nature’ where M had kept the SRA informed of his actions throughout and was found to be an honest witness. The Appellant sought an order for costs against the SRA but it was not right to say that he had emerged without any criticisms. He had transferred client firms to another unregulated firm. The tribunal was entitled to find that  the proceedings were properly brought by the SRA in exercising it’s regulatory function.

 

 

 

For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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