Solicitor fabricated court order to hide lack of progress with case

SDT: Strike-off approved

A solicitor who fabricated a court order to hide his lack of progress with a case – as well as an email purporting to seek enforcement of it – has been struck off.

Albert Bargery admitted also misleading his then employer about the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) investigation into his conduct.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal last week approved an agreement between the SRA and Mr Bargery that he be struck off.

The 38-year-old qualified in 2014 and was working for Aylesbury firm Parrott & Coales when he acted for ‘Client A’ in a claim worth about £3,000.

The SRA recorded that, by May 2018, Client A was concerned with the slow progress of the matter and told Mr Bargery in a phone call that he would go to court himself to seek an update. Mr Bargery replied that he had secured an order from the court.

Client A went to the firm’s offices to pick up the order in person and Mr Bargery handed him what appeared to be an order for £3,075 issued by the County Court Money Claims Court.

For the next few months, Client A repeatedly contacted Mr Bargery about when the monies would be paid. He again went to the firm’s offices at the end of September, and Mr Bargery gave him a copy of an email that showed he was chasing Client A’s solicitors for payment.

He left the firm on 21 December 2018. The new solicitor running the case told Client A that the documents were not on the firm’s file.

The firm tried to rectify the issues caused by Mr Bagley, securing judgment for Client A. However, the defendant successfully applied to set it aside on the ground that the claim had not been properly brought to his attention. Client A represented himself at the hearing and was ordered to pay the costs of the case.

In January 2019, Mr Bargery began working as a solicitor at Real Employment Law Advice. In June 2020, the SRA informed the firm of its investigation.

Mr Bargery initially told the firm that he was unaware of the substance of the allegations and a month later said he had complied with the SRA’s request for information.

Some weeks later, Mr Bargery was unwell, which prompted the firm’s managing director to access his emails. She saw the email exchange with the SRA, which showed he had misled her in both respects.

In a meeting a few days later, Mr Bargery still denied being provided with the alleged forged documents and continued to deny any wrongdoing. He resigned after the meeting.

But before the SDT Mr Bargery admitted all the allegations against him, saying he was trying to cover up the lack of progress he had made with the matter, and agreed that he should be struck off.

He also agreed to pay costs of £10,000.

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