Assistant Solicitor fined £5,000 for failing to register notice of interest with investor missing out on £40,400

An assistant conveyancing solicitor has been fined £5,000 plus costs of £3,452 for failing to register an AN1 form, which meant an investor missed out on a payment of £40,400 after a property sale.

According to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Kim Singh Landa was admitted as a solicitor in 2006 and was employed as an assistant solicitor at HSK Solicitors LLP, based in Manchester and Bolton. In late 2013 and early 2014 he acted for Newbury Venture Capital Limited on the purchase of a property between three parties.

One party, a “Mr JM” invested £25,000 and was due a stated profit on resale of £15,400. However while two parties were registered by a separate firm with Land Registry, Mr JM’s interest was not despite the Landa writing to the other firm, Drysdales, stating “Please accept our undertaking to register the AN1 upon receipt of your funds”. The sum of £25,000 was transferred from Drysdales to the Firm on that date.

A draft AN1 was sent to Drysdales, which was amended and returned to the Respondent on 10 January 2014. The Firm applied to register the agreed notice against the Property. A number of issues arose during the process and HM Land Registry raised a number of requisitions. The original application to register the agreed notice was cancelled on 27 February 2014. The application was re-submitted on 3 March 2014.

Confirmation of completion of registration was received from the Land Registry dated 1 April 2014 without noting the interest of the respondent’s client. On 17 December 2014 the Property was sold.

On 20 February 2015 Drysdales emailed Landa’s secretary at the firm stating “we note we have not yet heard from you with confirmation that the AN1 has now been registered in accordance with your undertaking”. A further email was sent by Drysdales dated 25 March 2015, stating “we have not yet heard from you with confirmation that the AN1 has been registered in accordance with your undertaking given on 23 December 2013. We now see that the property changed hands on 17 December 2014 and obviously our clients (sic) entitlement of £40,400 has not been paid”. Landa’s secretary forwarded the email to the Respondent on 26 March 2015.

The Solicitor’s Disciplinary Tribunal stated: “The Respondent was completely responsible for his misconduct. There had been a substantial loss to the individual who had invested in the Property and harm to the reputation of the profession. On the evidence before the Tribunal this was a one-off, where the registration of the agreed notice had been overlooked. The Respondent had a previously unblemished record.

“The Respondent had made a mistake, he did not profit from this mistake. His actions were neither planned nor spontaneous. He had acted in breach of a position of trust but no more so than the average solicitor who made an error.”

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