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Solicitor rebuked for beginning PI claims without checking details of referred clients

RTA claim: Solicitor sent CNF without signed retainer

A personal injury lawyer has been sanctioned for launching claims without checking that the details he received from a claims management company were correct.

Taher Zia Shad has accepted a rebuke and £2,000 fine, the most the Solicitors Regulation Authority can do without referring him to a tribunal.

According to a regulatory settlement agreement published yesterday, Mr Shad was one of two partners at Bury firm Isaac Abraham Solicitors and from June 2015 ran the Oldham branch office, dealing with road traffic accident cases.

The agreement recorded that in two cases, he relied on information received from a claims management company called Blend Recoveries when making a claim, without carrying out sufficient due diligence to ensure the claims were legitimate.

In another, he submitted a claim notification form before his client had signed the retainer, which she later cancelled.

In a fourth case, he failed to properly supervise the setting up of the matter, resulting in all initial references to the client on the file and in correspondence being in the wrong name

Mr Shad was also found in breach on the accounts rules by failing to carry out client account reconciliations at least once every five weeks, both making an overpayment from client account and holding client money in office account, resulting in a cash shortage of £3,143, and also holding £13,370 of office money in client account.

In addition, he allowed inaccurate information to be included in the firm’s books of account, with one client ledger showing credit when there should have been debit, and vice versa in another matter.

In mitigation, Mr Shad said the instruction breaches came at a time when it was a “fledgling firm” where “work was coming in at speed and in volume and there was times where resources fell behind requirements”.

He continued that the breaches were largely administrative, and that new policies, systems and controls have been put in place.

In relation to the accounts breaches, Mr Shad said his partner in Bury was responsible for many of them, but he accepted his jointly and severally liability. New policies and procedures have again been put in place.