Secretary at top City firm and paralegal banned from profession for misconduct

SRA: section 43 orders

A secretary at a leading City law firm who submitted false cash advances and a paralegal who drafted misleading grounds of appeal in judicial review cases have both been banned from working in the profession.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has made both subject to section 43 orders, which mean they cannot work again for regulated firms without the regulator’s permission.

It recorded that Georgia Penton was employed as a junior secretary by Norton Rose Fullbright, during which time she was found to have submitted three false cash advance forms and received £558.33 when she knew she was not entitled to the money.

It said her conduct was found to be dishonest and she was dismissed for gross misconduct in March 2016.

Shivneet Kumar Mohan was employed as a paralegal by west London firm G Singh Solicitors for four and a half years until June 2014, during which time he “drafted inaccurate and misleading grounds of appeal in a number of cases seeking judicial review”.

Mr Mohan was also given a written rebuke and ordered to pay costs of £600.

Meanwhile, Peter Pybus, formerly a private client solicitor at Bath firm Mogers Drewett, has received a rebuke and fined £2,000, with £1,350 in costs, for multiple rule breaches.

The SRA said he: failed to obtain identification documents for a client; continued to act for a client without providing her with an engagement letter; acted where there was a conflict of interest; provided advice to clients in an area of law in which he lacked any specialism; provided advice to his clients with an interested third party being present and without an independent qualified interpreter having; and failed to carry out appropriate identity checks on several clients.

Mr Pybus left the firm on 30 September 2016. He is not currently practising.

The SRA has also taken action against Okechukwu Ngwuocha, a sole practitioner at Carl Martin Solicitors in Ilford, Essex. He too was rebuked, fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,350.

He was found to have failed to keep his books of account properly written up; failed to remedy the breaches of the accounts rules promptly upon discovery; and failed to comply with the terms of an undertaking.

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