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Solicitor fined for allowing struck-off boss to remain involved at firm

SRA: Maximum fine

A solicitor who allowed her struck-off partner to continue his involvement in their practice has been fined £2,000.

Nasima Akhtar Islam also failed to obtain proper client consent before transferring matters to an unregulated firm.

According to a notice published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Ms Islam was the sole manager and compliance officer of No1 Solicitors in Oldham at the point it was closed by the SRA in August 2019.

In June 2019, the firm’s other manager and its majority shareholder, Ehsan Kabir, was struck off [1].

He was cleared of eight out of nine allegations, but by giving misleading information to the SRA during its investigation, he was found to have acted both dishonestly and with a lack of integrity.

The SRA said Ms Islam “failed to effectively and properly take charge of the firm” after Mr Kabir was struck off, and Mr Kabir retained “some degree of control over the firm” thereafter.

She also failed to take “sufficient steps” to ensure that informed client consent was obtained before £13,950 of client money, together with the accompanying client files, were transferred to an unregulated firm providing family law services.

In doing so, she failed to protect client money and to act in the best interests of each client.

The 2019 tribunal also dealt with the other one-time co-owner of No1 Solicitors in Oldham, Lauren Anderson, who was given a suspended suspension for practising from an unauthorised family law firm. The SRA notice does not specify that this was the firm involved in Ms Islam’s misconduct.

In addition, Ms Islam failed to comply with her obligations to keep the firm’s accounting records properly written up at all times.

The £2,000 financial penalty is the most the SRA can levy on a solicitor from a traditional law firm without referring them to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

The SRA can fine a solicitor at an alternative business structure up to £50m, a discrepancy the regulator would like remove by bringing traditional firms into line with this power in the Legal Services Act.