Conveyancing fee-earner banned after using own money to hide mistakes

A conveyancer has been banned from working in the profession after paying two lenders by using her own money.

For eight years, fee-earner Elizabeth Beach had worked at Malekin Law in Cardiff, where she was also Company Secretary.

Looking over her conduct during her time at the firm, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) highlighted two occasions where Beach has used money from her own pocket to cover up a mistake.

In 2008, Beach was instructed on a mortgage by a Mr I. However, upon completion, she paid all of the money to Mr I rather than redeeming the original charge.

In 2011, Ms Beach was asked by a solicitor why the new mortgage company had only a second charge over the property, asking for the indemnity insurance details of the firm.

In the agreement with Beach, the SRA mentioned this case, stating that she had used her own funds as a way to prevent the indemnity insurance premium of the firm from increasing.

Whilst it went on to state that Mr I had agreed to reimburse Beach in monthly instalments, he actually made only one payment.

In an attempt to recover the remainder of the money, she passed on his details to a third party so they would be able to contact him.

The agreement went on to reference a second occasion four years later.

It stated that in 2015, Beach acted in the sale of a £120,000 property on behalf of a Ms S. Despite the property being subject to a charge in favour of a housing association, her request for details of the charge was not responded to.

Once the bank mortgage had been redeemed, Beach paid all proceeds to Ms S upon completion.

Beach then contacted the housing association the following month. They requested details of the intended sale price along with a completion date.

In response, Beach said that the price would be £100,000 and that completion would happen as soon as possible.

After Beach received confirmation from the housing authority as to how much would be owed, she used her own money to cover the costs.

Having reviewed Beach’s conduct, the SRA felt that subjecting her to a section 43 order would be appropriate.

During mitigation, Beach stated that whilst the payments had been made “with the best of intentions”, she had not realised the consequences of her actions.

In light of these actions, the SRA felt she had demonstrated that she could not be relied upon to provide her clients and third parties with proper or accurate information in regard to the matters in which she is instructed.

As such, she cannot work in the profession without the approval of the regulator.

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