£10k fine for solicitor who amended transfer without client consent

Land Registry: Application was not properly executed

A solicitor who amended and lodged a property transfer without her client’s knowledge or consent has been fined £10,000 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

It said Laura Sainsbury, who works at West London firm Prince Evans, made a “serious error of judgment”.

A notice published this week said that, in May 2018, Ms Sainsbury removed the signature page from a form TR1 which had been executed by her transferor client and attached it to an amended form without their knowledge and consent.

She then submitted it to HM Land Registry, purporting that it was signed as an executed deed.

Further, she failed to obtain instructions on the value of the property, as a result of which the wrong figure was entered on the title register.

Ms Sainsbury became aware of the client’s concerns in August 2019 but failed to report what she had done to the SRA.

The regulator said a fine was the appropriate penalty – the solicitor, who was experienced, had acted recklessly and, although the client had not suffered any actual harm, “there had been the potential for more than minimal loss”.

Her conduct was aggravated by her admission that she acted with a lack of integrity and the failure to report.

“This was more than a ‘simple error’ and Ms Sainsbury had made a serious error in judgment,” the SRA said.

In mitigation, the solicitor had admitted her misconduct, shown “genuine insight and remorse”, it was an isolated incident and she had made efforts to remedy the situation.

“She had not acted dishonestly, or deliberately set out to circumvent her regulatory obligations. There was no suggestion that Ms Sainsbury had acted for her own benefit.”

The fine was calculated at around a third of her salary, reduced by 15% in recognition of the mitigation, leading to a figure of £10,146, plus costs of £1,350.

    Readers Comments


    Fine was calculated at 1/3 of her salary. That is a grossly excessive, indeed harsh and oppressive, calculation. IMHO the SRA is out of control and is exacting huge fines merely to justify its existence – not acting fairly and reasonably in the interests of justice. They need to be brought to heal.

  • ACMIL says:

    Is it good to see that the SRA handpicking a scapegoat…

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