High-profile solicitor Todner to face disciplinary tribunal

Todner: Every faith in the SDT

High-profile solicitor Karen Todner is to face the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) over allegations of financial mismanagement at her former firm, Kaim Todner.

Ms Todner told Legal Futures that she was applying to have the referral by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) dismissed.

Meanwhile, leading London law firm Mishcon de Reya is also to face a tribunal hearing.

According to an SRA notice published yesterday, Ms Todner is to face allegations that she “caused or allowed sums received for unpaid professional disbursements to be retained in the firm’s office account for an excessive period and failed to cause the sums to be returned to the client”.

Further, she is accused of causing or allowing cash shortages to exist on the firm’s client account and of failing to comply with her obligations as Kaim Todner’s compliance officer for finance and administration.

Ms Todner, who now practises through eponymous law firm Karen Todner Ltd, told Legal Futures: “An authorised decision maker of the SRA has already made a decision that there would be no reference in the SDT without further investigations and there were none.

“So the matters will be subject to an abuse of process hearing where I am hopeful and confident the case will be dismissed in due course. I have every faith in the SDT and am content to leave it their capable hands.”

London firm Kaim Todner was bought by alternative business structure One Legal in 2016 but in late 2019 – after Ms Todner had left – it closed when One Legal was put into voluntary liquidation.

An extradition and criminal defence specialist, Ms Todner is particularly well known for her work for the Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon, whom she successfully represented for 10 years and in 2012 secured his release from extradition to the USA.

She won the legal personality of the year award at the Law Society Excellence Awards the same year.

Criminal cases she acted in include those of Louise Sullivan, the Australian nanny found guilty of shaking a baby to death but given a suspended sentence, and more recently City trader Tom Hayes, who – like Mr McKinnon – has Asperger’s syndrome and was convicted of conspiracy to rig the Libor interest rate.

Mr Hayes’ case is currently being considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Separately, Mishcon de Reya and former partner Elizabeth Ellen are to face a tribunal over an allegation that Ms Ellen caused or allowed payments to be made into and from client account “in circumstances amounting to the provision of a banking facility”, and the firm failed to prevent it.

In a statement, Mishcon said: “We note that a referral has been made to the SDT following an investigation into a historical matter which we self-reported to the SRA.

“We will continue to cooperate fully with all regulatory authorities. The tribunal principally relates to admitted technical breaches made in 2011 by a former colleague.”

Anthony Barnfather, senior partner of Barnfather Solicitors, who is representing Ms Ellen, said: “This matter refers to historical issues occurring more than a decade ago when our client was a junior lawyer working under the supervision of various partners at MDR.

“The firm self-reported, what it has termed, technical breaches of accounts rules in 2011.

“The case will be considered by an independent tribunal and as such we cannot comment further. However, we can confirm that our client will defend those aspects of the proceedings that concern any alleged breaches involving her.”

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