TAG solicitor loses appeal against striking-off


legalfutures

co

uk/regulation/solicitors/tag-solicitor-to-fight-high-court-ruling-striking-him-off” target=”_blank”>the High Court agreed

The court stayed the effect of the order pending the appeal; Mr Dennison co-founded Manchester firm Dennison Greer in 2007

Before the Court of Appeal, Mr Dennison argued that the High Court had failed to give sufficient weight to the views of the SDT, and that his case fell within the very small class of cases involving dishonesty which should not lead to a strike-off

However, giving the judgment, Lord Justice Moore-Bick said he was “unable to accept that [Mr Dennison’s] dishonesty was so trivial” as to fall into that class of cases

He

continued: “As to the factors which led the tribunal to conclude that striking off or suspension was not required in this case, none of them in my view carries a great deal of weight

The passage of time, although a factor to be taken into account, does little to detract from the gravity of the conduct, especially when the duration of the dishonesty and its subsequent concealment is taken into account

The matter is made worse by Mr Dennison’s receipt, albeit by a circuitous route, of advice from the Law Society that his interests in LRS had to be disclosed

“The payment by Mr Dennison to his former partners was made by way of settlement of what he presumably recognised were at least arguably sound claims against him

It does nothing to preserve the reputation of the profession

“The fact that the tribunal was satisfied that no member of the public would be put at risk if he continued to practise likewise does little to ensure confidence in the profession, since it would tend to reinforce the perception that the profession was willing to tolerate seriously dishonest practitioners

“The Divisional Court was conscious of the respect due to the decision of a professional tribunal of this kind, particularly one composed of such experienced members, but having considered the arguments in detail it concluded that none of them justified the tribunal’s decision, which it found to be clearly inappropriate

For the reasons I have given, which are essentially the same as those set out in the judgment of Lloyd Jones J, I think its conclusion was entirely justified

I would therefore dismiss the appeal

SRA executive director David Middleton said: “It was important to bring the appeal against the SDT’s decision in this case to maintain the principle that a finding of dishonesty will almost invariably indicate that a solicitor is a risk to the public and therefore that strike off is the appropriate order to be made

We do not believe that substantial fining powers are a substitute for strike off when the risk to the public is substantial

Mr Dennison said he had no comment on the ruling

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