Breach of consultancy agreement leads to fine for solicitor

A solicitor has been hit with fines and costs equating to £6,500, after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) found that the unnamed man had breached the terms of his consultancy agreement.

An SRA report reveals that the consultant solicitor had failed to process client fees through the law firm he was acting under. According to the SRA’s report, the unnamed man sought fees of up to £140 directly from clients through his own unregulated business.

In some instances, the solicitor had asked clients to pay sums of money either in cash, or directly into his personal bank account.

Reports suggest that the consultant’s own service was not regulated by the SRA and was not authorised to undertake reserved legal work.

The man in question has now been fined almost 15 times the money initially at stake.

In an email to one client, which was produced to the SRA as evidence, the solicitor wrote: “The office accountant will not be in on Monday so we prefer if you could pay cash. I will provide you with a receipt of payment accordingly”.

Neither a receipt nor the cash was ever received, the report says.

The settlement recorded: “He accepts that his conduct giving rise to the allegations fall short of the standards expected of a solicitor.

“In hindsight he ought to have collaborated more closely with the partners of [the law firm] in relation to the question of the collection of costs, the invoicing thereafter and the timescale for accounting to [the law firm] for these costs.

“He deeply regrets the manner in which he handled the matters referred to and which on reflection he should have dealt with differently.”

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