The Law Society has issued a damning critique of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposals for a streamlined code of conduct and – to a lesser extent – its planned overhaul of the accounts rules. The code of conduct proposals were misconceived, unnecessary, unclear, and would create a two-tier profession, it said.
A solicitor who allowed his wife to make improper transfers from his firm’s client account has been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The SDT said the decision to put his wife in a position of trust was part of a “conscious strategy” by Abdul Aziz Hafezi.
A sole practitioner’s wife, who worked at the firm as bookkeeper before being dismissed by her husband, is set to escape a hearing at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Naseem Hafezi admitted misappropriating client money and failing to co-operate with the SRA.
A sole practitioner who decided not to sack a fraudulent employee after discovering he had stolen almost £90,000 from the firm’s office account has been fined £5,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. However, the SDT rejected 20 of the 24 allegations made against her by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
An “old-fashioned solicitor” whose firm “became a mess and spiralled downwards” has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. “Even if the respondent’s actions were not pre-mediated when he made the first transfer, by the one hundred and forty seventh transfer they must have been,” it said.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is planning a new definition of ‘client money’ which would exclude fees and disbursements. The move is part of its overhaul of the Solicitors Accounts Rules, which could also open the way for more solicitors to hold client money in third-party managed accounts.
A solicitor who successfully challenged her strike-off at the High Court can return to practice following a decision by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. A fresh tribunal said it would be “disproportionate” to strike off Rukhsana Kiani.
A law firm owner did not mislead the Solicitors Regulation Authority over the financial difficulties his practice was facing, even though he was reliant on loans from a senior solicitor to keep it afloat, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has ruled.
A sole practitioner who made a “conscious choice to prop up her practice with client funds” has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Harvinder McKibbin told the tribunal that “as a true sole practitioner, matters had become a bit too much being on my own with no support”.
Practising solicitors should be allowed to deliver advice to the public from unregulated firms, subject to restrictions, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has suggested as part of a phased review of how it regulates both individuals and organisations.