Sophie Khan to face 11 charges at disciplinary tribunal

Khan: Undersettlement allegation

Details of the disciplinary case the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will make against Sophie Khan – who was jailed for contempt after failing to give it her firm’s papers – were published yesterday.

Among the 11 allegations she will face before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) are that she undersettled claims, breached an undertaking and “fabricated or falsified a pro-forma fee note and letters”.

The saga began last August, when the regulator intervened in her practice, Leicester-based Sophie Khan & Co, saying there was “reason to suspect dishonesty” on her part.

Ms Khan, also known as Soophia, is challenging the decision in separate High Court proceedings and did not comply with SRA demands to provide the firm’s papers.

This led to her being jailed for six months in January for breaching two court orders to hand over the documents.

The allegations she is to face before the SDT were settled last August but only published by the SRA yesterday. None are yet proven and are subject to a hearing.

The SRA claims that Ms Khan settled damages claims advanced on behalf of two clients for “substantially” less than she had advised the clients they would receive “and in circumstances where she had neither sought nor obtained authority from the clients to settle the claims at that level”.

Further, she is alleged to have settled costs claims for two clients “without informing them of the offer of settlement or of its acceptance and without seeking or obtaining authority from the clients to settle the claims”.

She is said to have received a cheque to settle costs claims and paid it directly into her firm’s office account without first giving or sending a bill of costs or other written notification of the costs incurred to the clients.

The SRA went on: “On an unknown date, but after 26 November 2019, [Ms Khan] fabricated or falsified a pro-forma fee note and letters purporting to show contemporaneous notification to the clients of the costs claimed by the firm”.

Ms Khan is alleged to have received a cheque to settle clients’ costs claims where their former solicitors had or asserted a claim, but paid the cheque directly into office account without accounting for the former solicitors’ costs, having also breached the undertakings given to the former solicitors to protect their position on costs.

She is accused too of failing to cooperate with SRA and Legal Ombudsman investigations, as well as an ombudsman decision.

The final set of allegations relate to the failures that led to the contempt proceedings and the finding of contempt itself.

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