SDT lifts restrictions on solicitor who showed “impressive insight”

SDT: No evidence of any risk of harm

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has removed conditions on the practising certificate (PC) of a former law firm partner who now works remotely from Italy as a consultant.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which supported the application, told the SDT that Marco Dellapina, working at London firm FidLaw, had “demonstrated impressive insight, both at the time and now”.

The SDT heard that Mr Dellapina was found by SDT in 2016 to have breached the accounts rules on multiple occasions while working as a partner and director of Diaz Dellapina.

This included making unallocated round-sum transfers of over £27,000 from client to office account, causing 24 debit balances totalling over £19,000 to occur in client account, and failing to keep accounting records properly written up.

He was fined £3,750 and conditions imposed on his PC preventing him from practising as a partner or holding client money. He was also banned from holding a compliance officer role.

Mr Dellapina told the tribunal there was “no possibility of him returning to the UK to set up his own firm again” but “the conditions currently in place were restricting his earning capacity”.

This was because UK firms would only engage him as a consultant “if he was able to bring his own work with him at present”.

Counsel for the SRA said the regulator initially opposed the application but changed its mind after the solicitor provided “ample evidence to support his professional rehabilitation”.

This included evidence of his attendance on courses, references from the law firms he worked with and attendance at “numerous courses” on the accounts rules and the code of conduct.

“The tribunal noted that there had been no dishonesty and no lack of integrity in the 2016 matters. There had been no breach of trust and Mr Dellapina had made good the shortfall.

“He had co-operated fully with the SRA and had demonstrated impressive insight both at the time and now.”

The SDT said a “key issue” was the fact that the SRA now supported Mr Dellapina’s application and there had been “full compliance” with the conditions since their imposition.

“The tribunal could infer that he had operated very well at a senior level in the profession. He had been involved in managing and training younger people as well as he could within the restrictions under which he was operating.

“Taken together, these factors suggested that there was no evidence of any risk of harm to the public.”

Mr Dellapina’s application to remove the conditions was granted and he was ordered to pay costs of £1,435.

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