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Solicitor struck off after contempt finding allowed to return to profession

SDT: Satisfied clients

A solicitor who was struck off more than 20 years ago after being found in contempt of court and breach of undertakings to the High Court, has been restored to the roll.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) said that what Bushra Anwar had done when she was “young and inexperienced should not blight her for the rest of her life”.

She was struck off in 1999 for breaches of the accounts rules, giving “false and misleading information to a bank” and breaching undertakings given to the High Court.

She was also found to be in contempt of court, fined and ordered to pay damages.

Ms Anwar applied for restoration to the roll in 2007 but the SDT rejected this at the time. Noting the “gravity” of the offences, it said that while she had done “much commendable work which went to the rehabilitation of her personal reputation”, she had not sufficiently addressed her rehabilitation in terms of professional ability.

She had done some teaching and “some advice giving”, but “had not worked in a solicitor’s office”.

In the witness statement for her latest application to be restored to the roll, Ms Anwar said there was no finding of dishonesty and no client lost money as a result of the offences for which she was struck off.

She said she was given permission by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to work for a law firm in 2013 and had done so for six years.

Ms Anwar also set out “extensive details of community and charitable work” that she had undertaken.

On her offences in 1999, she commented: “I accept that these matters were very serious, and that they covered several different areas within my practice.

“Some of these matters can perhaps be put down to my inexperience and being overwhelmed, but I accept that the more serious matters cannot be regarded in that light.

“In saying that I do not suggest that inexperience could or should be acceptable as an excuse for improper conduct.”

Counsel for Ms Anwar said that, at the time of the offences, she was “young and had been in the ill-advised position of running a firm at that stage”.

The SRA took a neutral stance, since the SDT’s decision in 2007 appeared to have made on the basis “not that the applicant was incapable of restoration, but that she had not acquired enough work experience”.

The SDT said it was satisfied that restoring Ms Anwar to the roll would not undermine the profession in the eyes of the public.

“What she had done when young and inexperienced should not blight her for the rest of her life.” There was also evidence of “highly satisfied clients”.

The tribunal decided that there was no need to impose conditions on Ms Anwar’s practising certificate.

She told the tribunal that she planned to do family law and possibly some locum work if allowed back into practice.