A London solicitor has been struck off after using client money that should have been paid to barristers to settle their fees.
Paul Francis Fallon, who was at City Law Financial LLP at the time of the offences, was struck off the roll by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) last week. The tribunal found 10 allegations against him proven, with five of them involving dishonesty.
The case followed the Solicitors Regulation Authority closing down City Law Financial LLP in October 2012. It found that a substantial sum in fees due to counsel, instructed on behalf of clients, had been spent elsewhere.
Other allegations found proven by the tribunal included making false statements about the settlement of these fees, appearing on behalf of clients in proceedings in the High Court when he was not qualified or entitled to do so, making a false statement about an adverse costs order to a client and practising without a valid practising certificate. As well as being struck off, Mr Fallon was ordered to pay £160,000 costs.
Mr Fallon did not attend the hearing to offer any evidence in mitigation, but had denied all the allegations.
Gordon Ramsay, SRA director of legal and enforcement, said: “The allegations found proven against Mr Fallon are numerous, and each on its own would have been very serious. The dishonesty found in this case is wholly unacceptable and, in the SRA’s view, striking off is a wholly appropriate outcome to this matter. “
Mr Fallon has 21 days from the date the tribunal publishes its written decision in which to appeal.