Non-solicitor fee-earners at two law firms who created fake letters – one for his own direct benefit – have been sanctioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
According to an SRA notice published this week, Caroline Haydock was employed as an associate at BLM’s Southampton office in 2014, when she created a letter to a claimant’s medical expert and backdated it.
She then attempted to mislead the claimant’s solicitors about the date on which she had prepared the letter.
She further signed a misleading witness statement that gave the impression that the letter was sent by first class post on the day she said it had been created, when it was not.
The SRA said that this conduct was dishonest and breached various of its principles. It issued her with a rebuke.
Ms Haydock ceased to work for the firm in June 2017 and is not currently working at or for an SRA-regulated practice.
In addition, she was made subject to a section 43 order – which means she cannot work for an SRA-regulated business without the regulator’s consent – and ordered to pay the SRA’s costs of £1,350.
Meanwhile, Colin Duck, who had been an equity release trainee and then an equity release assistant at Exeter firm Ashfords, was rebuked, fined £2,000 and also made the subject of a section 43 order.
The SRA said Mr Duck created and sent two letters to the tenant of his property which falsely claimed that Ashfords was acting for him in connection with the rental management of the property. The person named as signing the letters did not do so and Mr Duck gave him a false title.
Mr Duck also misled Ashfords during its internal investigation into his conduct, the SRA said. He resigned from the firm in June 2017 with immediate effect.
The SRA said this conduct was dishonest. It also ordered to him to pay costs of £600.