Leading conveyancer struck off
The fate of well-known conveyancer and supporter of The Law Society, Richard Barnett was decided upon in the final court hearing of the widely publicised R A Barnett and A A Swift case
Following the hearing which was held yesterday (20th July 2015), officials from the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) have now reported the final outcome. Having been accused by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the case was concluded with Mr Barnett being struck off and Mr Swift suspended for 6 months.
This case was regarding the actions of former Senior Partner, Richard Barnett of Barnetts law firm. At the beginning of the month, the SDT heard Bartnett and colleague Anthony Swift were being accused of misuse of funds by the SRA. One of the allegations involved the collapsed Axiom Legal Financing Fund where, despite the firm having already borrowed substantial sums of money, Barnett was still receiving £40,000 a month for acting as panel manager. While on the panel, the tribunal heard Barnett was said to act with a lack of integrity and behaved dishonestly.
A total sum of £859,000 was allegedly paid by Axiom in August 2012, with a view of funding an oil spill case overseas that Barnetts was acting for. Timothy Dutton of the SRA stated that, having successfully received the money, only £206,000 was allocated to the case, with the rest going towards the running of Barnetts.
In response, Barnett told the court that once the Axiom funds were suspended in October 2012, he deemed the funds to be openly available to then be used accordingly within the firm. Dutton then brought up the issue of a substantial sum having already been spent for Bartnett’s own use prior to the suspension.
During yesterday’s final hearing, Barnett has now been permanently struck off by the SDT and Swift was suspended for 6 months.
Today’s Conveyancer have requested a copy the final judgement and will report on this upon receiving the documentation.