In these difficult economic times solicitors being investigated or prosecuted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority may be tempted to self-represent or rely on that trusted colleague for pro-bono representation, but as their career and reputation are at stake this is likely to be a false economy.
A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal specialist understands the nuances of professional discipline, a unique field quite separate in approach, for example, from criminal or private civil dispute resolution proceedings.
At Murdochs solicitors, we have a specialist Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal team recognised as national leaders in their field by Chambers & Partners UK. As leading specialists in this field we have many years’ experience defending solicitors in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and know when the Tribunal can be persuaded, and when it is better to admit and mitigate.
Recently we have;
- Represented a firm of solicitors in which the entire firm were practising uncertificated, and hadn’t had professional indemnity insurance for three years. Result : Persuaded SRA that no further action should be taken.
- Represented a senior partner of a firm of solicitors accused of lacking integrity in failing to pay interest to clients in the administration of estates. Result : Allegations not proven.
- Represented the former senior partner of a firm in High Court Freezing Order proceedings in which £20 million was alleged to be missing from client account. Result : Consent order reached with SRA.
- Represented partners accused of dishonesty in failing to keep mortgage lenders’ advised of material facts in conveyancing transactions. Result : Dishonesty not proven.
- Represented an employed solicitor accused of dishonestly failing to account to his firm for cash paid by clients. Result : Proceedings withdrawn.
- Represented an immigration partner accused of misleading the Royal Courts of Justice on an emergency injunction. Result : Proceedings withdrawn.
- Represented a commercial property partner of a Manchester firm seeking an adjournment of proceedings to be heard before a differently constituted panel on grounds that there was a risk of appearance of bias in the constituted panel. Result : SDT adjourned to a different panel on grounds that there was an appearance of bias.
With our experience, we believe that we achieve results second to none. We can cite many examples of early advice and representation resulting in the Solicitors Regulation Authority closing their investigation, withdrawing issued proceedings before the SDT or reaching terms of settlement through a Regulatory Settlement Agreement.
Appearing regularly before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal we have an intrinsic understanding of the nature of the Tribunal panel, the approach they take to decision making and therefore we are well placed to ensure that your defence is properly understood.
Appearing regularly against the SRA’s prosecution panel, our opinions on the merits of allegations are taken seriously and where allegations ought to be withdrawn, often we are able to reach agreement with the prosecutor.
The outcomes of SRA investigations and SDT proceedings are not isolated in nature. They are likely to impact on your ability to practice, your insurance coverage, your financial wealth, your reputation and your relationship with your company, LLP, partnership or as employee. As specialists in solicitors’ professional discipline and regulation we understand the wider context of disciplinary investigations and proceedings, advising on issues relating to Practising Certificates, Indemnity Insurance Coverage Investigations, Partnership, LLP & corporate issues, Employment Law ramifications and Costs in Regulatory Proceedings.
We understand that we are the only firm in history to have successfully obtained an order from the SRA ordering a leading professional indemnity insurer to indemnify a solicitor following declinature.
To discuss your case, in confidence, with one of our specialist professional disciplinary team, please call Robert Forman on 020 8852 3412.