Category

SRA decisions

The new database structure introduced in 2019 is more useful than this Category page: see Special:Drilldown/Cases.

The pages below are initially ordered according to the dates on which they were added to the site (most recent first). The order can be changed by clicking on the symbol beside a column heading: click on the symbol beside "Page and summary" for alphabetical order; click beside "Categories" for the order in which the cases were reported. Click on the arrow symbol again to reverse the order. Click on a page name to view the relevant page. Asterisks mark those cases which have been added to the new database structure.

Case and summary Date added Categories
* Dishonest solicitor Maitland-Hudson v SRA [2019] EWHC 67 (Admin)"The Appellant appeals against findings of misconduct and dishonesty made against him by ... the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ... Pursuant to those findings, on 2 May 2018 the Appellant was struck off the Roll of Solicitors and ordered to pay the SRA's costs, including £300,000 by way of interim payment. The Tribunal found the Appellant to have been guilty of misconduct "at the highest level", characterised as "deliberate, calculated and repeated… over a number of years". It was aggravated by the Appellant's dishonesty and attempts to defend his conduct. The appeal is based on grounds of alleged procedural unfairness, specifically that the Appellant, a litigant in person, was substantially impaired in his ability to defend himself, to the extent that he admitted himself to hospital. Despite the fact that consultant psychiatrist experts on both sides found that the Appellant was unable to represent himself, the Tribunal refused to dismiss the proceedings on the basis of "incurable unfairness" or even to stay or adjourn their remainder." 2019‑02‑01 09:02:50 2019 cases, Cases, Judgment available on Bailii, SRA decisions


* Statutory demands set aside John Blavo v Law Society [2017] EWHC 561 (Ch)"In November 2015 the Law Society served a statutory demand on Mr Blavo claiming that he owed it £151,816.27. In February 2016 the Law Society served a second statutory demand on Mr Blavo claiming that he owed it a further £643,489.20. On 14 December 2015 Mr Blavo applied to set aside the first statutory demand. On 11 March 2016 Mr Blavo applied to set aside the second statutory demand. ... It is the costs of the intervention, from 15 October 2015 to 20 January 2016, into the company and Mr Blavo's practice which are the underlying subject matter of the statutory demands. ... It follows from all I have said that I have concluded that the statutory demands in this case should be set aside because the debts in question are not for liquidated sums." 2018‑07‑11 12:23:54 2017 cases, Cases, ICLR summary, Judgment available on Bailii, SRA decisions


Victoria Wadsworth (strike off) [2016] MHLO 58 (SDT)Since 2007 Victoria Wadsworth had been in charge of a law firm's mental health department, and had invented another firm called "Healthy Minds" to pretend to write medical reports for clients, at the Legal Services Commission's expense. In the Crown Court she had admitted to obtaining £25,000 between 2007 and 2012 (though the law firm stated it had repaid £181,887.72, and the Legal Aid Agency statement referred to a value exceeding £134,000 being repaid). At the time of the hearing, she was in prison having been sentenced to three years (reduced to two on appeal) for fraud, but the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal proceeded in her absence. The Tribunal agreed that the rule 5(2) allegations which had commenced its proceedings had been superseded by the conviction and should lie on file. The Tribunal found breaches of Principle 1 (which requires a solicitor to uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice), Principle 2 (which requires a solicitor to act with integrity) and Principle 6 (which requires a solicitor to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in him and in the provision of legal services). The mitigation related to Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 proceedings, financial hardship, and caring responsibilities for her severely disabled adult son. She was struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered to pay the agreed costs of £21,864.10. 2017‑02‑11 21:38:18 2016 cases, Brief summary, SRA decisions, Transcript


Lucia Benyu v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2015] EWHC 4085 (Admin), [2015] MHLO 137 — "This is the adjourned hearing of the Appellant's appeal brought pursuant to section 49 of the Solicitors Act 1974 against the order of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ('SDT') dated 3/10/14, striking the Appellant off the Roll of Solicitors and ordering her to pay costs in the sum of £48,000. The decision followed a full three day hearing at which the Appellant was represented by experienced counsel, although she has indicated that she has now made a complaint against that counsel. The SDT found the Appellant to have been dishonest to the criminal standard. But it went on to say that the seriousness of her misconduct was such that it would have struck her off even if it had not made such a finding. ... The Appellant acted in person at the substantive appeal hearing. She has not attended for the hand down of this judgment, although she is fully on notice of it. She invites the court to the set aside the SDT's order; or, alternatively, to strike her off with no dishonesty attached." 2016‑08‑27 22:27:41 2015 cases, Judgment missing from Bailii, No summary, SRA decisions, Transcript


Jimoh Adun of Nieko Solicitors (SRA decision: control of practice) [2016] MHLO 23(1) The SRA decided on 15/7/15 (decision published 24/7/15) that Mr Adun's practising certificate for 2014/2015 would be subject to the following conditions: "(a) Mr Adun is not to be a recognised sole practitioner, manager or owner of any authorised body or authorised non-SRA firm; (b) Mr Adun shall immediately inform any actual or prospective employer and relevant authorised body's authorised signatory and/or organisation contact of these conditions and the reasons for their imposition." (2) Reasons: "Jimoh Adun is subject to Regulation 3 of the SRA Practising Regulations 2011. He was the sole manager and owner of the firm Nieko Solicitors, which was subject to an intervention decision dated 5 December 2014. The grounds for intervention were abandonment of practice and that the intervention was necessary to protect the interests of clients (former or potential) of Mr Adun. The SRA had been advised that he was being investigated by the Legal Aid Agency. His conduct is currently being investigated by the SRA." 2016‑07‑30 22:46:06 2016 cases, Brief summary, No transcript, SRA decisions


* Reasons for closure of Blavo & Co Solicitors Blavo and Co Solicitors (SRA decision: closure) [2015] MHLO 70The SRA closed down Blavo & Co Solicitors and suspended John Blavo's practising certificate, giving the following reasons: (a) there is reason to suspect dishonesty of the part of a manager or employee of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited; (b) there is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of John Blavo in connection with his practice; (c) to protect the interests of clients of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited. 2015‑10‑16 22:39:01 2015 cases, Brief summary, Cases, SRA decisions, Transcript


Jimoh Adun of Nieko Solicitors (SRA decision: closure) [2015] MHLO 4 (SRA)The SRA decided to intervene because Jimoh Adun had abandoned his practice at Nieko Solicitors, and it was necessary to protect the interests of clients (former or potential) and any beneficiaries of any trust of which he is or was a trustee. The SRA was unable to gain access on 8/12/14 but gained access three days later with a court order. 2015‑01‑29 15:58:06 2015 cases, Brief summary, No transcript, SRA decisions


Lucia Benyu (strike off) and Ronnie Benyu (section 43 order) [2014] MHLO 138 (SDT)(1) In relation to Lucia Shingirai Benyu, née Ndoro, who at the material time practised as a sole practitioner under the style of Peters & Co Solicitors, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal concluded that: "The First Respondent had admitted a lack of integrity and had had several allegations of dishonesty proved against her. The Tribunal had heard a litany of the most ruthless exploitation of an obviously vulnerable individual and had disbelieved much of what the First Respondent had to say whilst giving evidence on oath. In cases where dishonest misappropriation of client’s funds had been found then it was well-established that that would invariably lead to strike off. There were no circumstances put before the Tribunal that might lead it to mitigate that penalty. The First Respondent would be struck off the Roll of Solicitors. Indeed, the seriousness of her misconduct was such that this would have been the appropriate sanction even if she had not been found to be dishonest." (2) In relation to Ronnie Benyu, her husband who held the position of Practice Manager and Bookkeeper, the SDT concluded that: "It was clear that, even by his own admission, the Second Respondent was a totally unfit person to work in a solicitor’s office. The Tribunal would have no hesitation in making the section 43 Order requested by the Applicant." 2014‑12‑31 20:11:15 2014 cases, Brief summary, SRA decisions, Transcript


Lucia Benyu (SRA decision: control of practice) [2014] MHLO 99 (SRA)(1) The SRA decided that as Lucia Benyu, née Ndoro, was in an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, and her conduct was under investigation, the following conditions on her 2013/14 practising certificate were necessary: (a) she may act as a solicitor only as an employee; which role has first been approved in writing by the SRA; she is not a sole practitioner, or a manager or owner of any authorised body or authorised non-SRA firm except as a minority share owner in Peters Legal Limited (SRA ID 607645); (c) she does not hold, receive or have access to client money or have responsibility for any client money; (d) she is not a signatory to any client or office account and does not have the power to authorise electronic payments or transfers from any client or office account; (e) Mrs Benyu shall immediately inform any actual or prospective employer of these conditions and the reasons for their imposition. (2) She was subsequently struck off the roll of solicitors by an order of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal dated 3/10/14. 2014‑10‑27 15:47:00 2014 cases, Brief summary, No transcript, SRA decisions


Lucia Benyu of Peters Legal Limited (SRA decision: prosecution) [2014] MHLO 15 (SRA) — On 28/1/14 the SRA published their 30/5/13 decision to prosecute, before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Lucia Benyu (who until 18/4/2013 was the director of Peters Legal Limited, one of the largest mental health law firms). The Tribunal certified that there is a case to answer in respect of allegations which are or include that she: (1) failed to maintain properly written up and accurate accounting records; (2) authorised or permitted improper withdrawals of client money from client account; (3) failed promptly or at all to remedy the breaches; (4) failed to manage the financial affairs of the firm either effectively or properly; (5) submitted misleading correspondence and/or documents to third parties; (6) created correspondence and/or documents; (7) continued to act on behalf of clients when there existed a conflict between her own interests and those of her clients; and (8) failed to provide to a client adequate information regarding costs. 2014‑03‑16 14:05:28 2014 cases, Brief summary, No transcript, SRA decisions


SRA decision: Nnadozie Okpokiri of Dozie and Co Solicitors [2013] MHLO 53 (SRA)The SRA closed down Dozie and Co on the grounds that (1) it had reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Nnadozie Okpokiri (director) and (2) it was satisfied that he had failed to comply with the conduct and accounts rules. 2013‑07‑19 23:54:02 2013 cases, Brief summary, SRA decisions, Transcript


SRA decision: Billy Chucks of Chris Solicitors [2013] MHLO 22 (SRA) — "It is reported that whilst employed by various legal practices: Mr Chucks failed to comply with restrictions on his attendance imposed by a number of hospital trusts, and that he prepared a “consent to disclosure” request at a hospital for a client who has confirmed that he had not instructed Mr Chucks to act on his behalf, and that he improperly removed clients’ files/documentation without authority from a former employer. Those papers have not yet been returned. ... I FIND that Mr Billy Chucks, (Date of birth: 23 August 1975) of Flat 1, 701 Fulham Road, London SW6 5UL who is or was involved in legal practice but is not a solicitor has, in the Society’s opinion occasioned or been a party to, with or without the connivance of a solicitor, an act or default in relation to a legal practice which involved conduct on his part of such a nature that in the Society’s opinion it would be undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice in one or more of the ways mentioned in sub-section (1A) of Section 43. ... This includes being on hospital premises after he knew that a ban prohibiting his attendance had been imposed. On one occasion police were called to the hospital as a result. He had objected to the bans imposed but he did not take any action to challenge these through the appropriate legal route. ... Also, it is a matter of grave concern that client’s papers, improperly in Mr Chucks’ possession, are not held securely and client confidentiality is compromised. An assurance given that these would be returned to the firm of solicitors responsible for their safe keeping has not been honoured. ... For these reasons, I have concluded that it would be undesirable for Mr Chucks to be involved in a legal practice. The effect of this Order is that he may not be employed in legal practice without the knowledge and prior approval of the SRA. Any approval granted is likely to be subject to strict conditions in order to protect clients and the public." 2013‑03‑27 00:09:45 2013 cases, No summary, SRA decisions, Transcript