Partner sanctioned for not reporting firm’s financial problems

Print This Post

25 April 2016


SRA: settlement agreement

SRA: settlement agreement

A solicitor has avoided an appearance before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal after accepting a rebuke for failing to report his firm’s “serious financial difficulties”.

Jamie Lee Ratcliffe had worked at Tracey Barlow Furniss & Co in Worksop from 2002 and became a salaried partner in 2007 before leaving in May 2014, shortly before the firm closed at the end of August.

According to the regulatory settlement agreement published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – which will lead to proceedings before the tribunal being rescinded – an SRA investigation identified “a number of financial irregularities”, including that the firm owed HMRC £202,800 in unpaid VAT.

Further, the firm had two loans from Bank of Scotland totalling £380,815. As a result of non-payment, the bank had issued a statutory demand and receivers had been appointed on 16 August 2013. The receivers served notice in March 2014 that they intended to close the firm’s office accounts at the end of May.

The agreement said: “The above financial difficulties constituted a material risk to the firm and its clients. Mr Ratcliffe did not notify the SRA of the firm’s financial difficulties, as was required in accordance with Principles 7 and 8, and Outcome 10.3 of the SRA Principles 2011.”

Having been referred to the tribunal, Mr Radcliffe admitted his failure and accepted a rebuke instead. He also agreed to pay £2,151 in costs.

He is now working as an assistant solicitor at Doncaster firm Grainger Appleyard.



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

How to protect your firm from ransomware

Adam Curtis Hoowla

One news item has dominated the headlines over the last week – cyber-attacks and, in particular, the WannaCry ransomware. It is a well-known and well-documented fact that the legal industry, and conveyancing in particular, can be a vulnerable and high value target. This ranges from property hijacking – where fraudsters pose as legitimate owners of a property and sell it on without the real owner’s knowledge – to ‘Friday afternoon fraud’, with criminals contacting a busy law firm to ‘update’ their bank details to redirect funds.

May 22nd, 2017