There is no “current procedure” by which the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) informs law firms that non-solicitor members of staff have been banned from working for them, it has emerged.
A conveyancer who admitted signing a Land Registry transfer saying she had witnessed her clients’ signatures, when she had not, was banned last month from working for solicitors.
Elise Daley, who describes herself on her LinkedIn page as a “legal executive” and currently a “legal manager” at DWF, was working as a conveyancer at Yorkshire firm Chadwick Lawrence at the time of the incident between July 2012 and June 2013, before joining DWF in July 2013.
In a decision notice published late last month, the SRA said Ms Daley, who is not a solicitor, had breached several of the SRA Principles 2011 and failed to achieve an outcome in the Code of Conduct.
She was issued with a banning order under section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974, given a written rebuke and ordered to pay £600 costs.
The SRA said: “During her employment with Chadwick Lawrence LLP, Ms Daley admitted to signing a Land Registry transfer deed to say that she had witnessed her clients’ signatures when she had not.”
Under the order, from 10 November 2015, no solicitor or firm is allowed, without the permission of the SRA, to ‘employ or remunerate’ Ms Daley, and she is not permitted to be a manager or have an interest in a law firm.
The notice said Ms Daley “subsequently started work for DWF”. However, the firm did not appear to be aware of the banning order until Friday 4 December.
A spokeswoman for DWF told Legal Futures last week: “It was brought to the firm’s attention on Friday that there was an SRA investigation into the actions of Elise Daley whilst she was employed by another law firm.
“These activities do not relate in any way to DWF, and as such DWF was not part of that investigation. Elise has resigned from the firm and is currently on gardening leave pending guidance from the SRA.”
A spokesman for the SRA said: “There is no current procedure for informing current employers about staff subject to a section 43 order.
“The obligation is on the employee to ask permission from the SRA if they wish to be employed by a solicitors’ firm.”