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Solicitor sanctioned for dealing with unregulated CMCs

SRA: Rebukes for solicitors

A solicitor who took holiday sickness leads from unregulated claims management companies (CMCs) has been rebuked by his regulator.

Kabir Khan, who runs Luton firm Harlington Law, agreed to the sanction, meaning he will not be referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

A regulatory settlement agreement published yesterday recorded that in November 2016 Mr Khan contracted with two companies to carry out marketing activities and refer potential personal injury claims.

While the solicitor carried out “basic due diligence” on the companies, he did not check whether they were authorised by the Claims Management Regulator (since last year, the Financial Conduct Authority regulates CMCs).

He accepted 202 referrals in relation to holiday sickness claims from the companies over a period of five months. As it happened, Mr Khan did not pay the companies because they became insolvent before their fees became due.

He admitted failing to carry out his role as sole principal of Harlington Law effectively, in breach of principle 8 of the SRA Principles 2011.

The SRA found that Mr Khan was reckless as to the risk of harm posed by these unregulated companies, while the conduct “persisted longer than reasonable”, with Mr Khan only taking remedial action when prompted.

“A rebuke marks the moderate seriousness of Mr Khan’s conduct but recognises that there was no intentional failure to comply with his regulatory obligations,” it added.

The SRA said it took into account Mr Khan’s mitigation that he has introduced policies and procedures to prevent a recurrence, and “shown insight and understands the need to ensure that any future claims management companies he uses are authorised by the relevant regulatory body”.

Further, the solicitor co-operated fully with the SRA and had no previous regulatory findings against him.

Meanwhile, the SRA has issued a rebuke to Benson Demide, a solicitor at south London firm Bestway Solicitors, following his convictions last March for drink driving and assaulting an emergency worker “acting in the exercise of his functions”

The regulator has also rebuked Alvina Zia, the COLP of Manchester firm Obelisk Law, and Julia Cooper, COLP of East London firm J Cooper Solicitors.

Both failed to complete and return form FA10 (the anti-money laundering authorisation form) by the deadlines set by the SRA and also failed to co-operate with the regulator.