SRA Continues To Ensure Solicitor Honesty
The SRA are attempting to ensure the honesty and integrity of law firms and their representatives in order to provide a more transparent system for consumers.
In the space of two days, the SRA have also made their intentions, concerning dishonest solicitors, very clear by invoking the use of section 43 orders.
The section 43 order allows for the banning of non-solicitors without SRA permission. Over the space of two days, four section 43 orders have been used.
One incident concerned a financial controller who completely disregarded client confidentiality. Samuel Onyebuchi Oblorah, working for TTS Solicitors at the time, flouted rules for confidentiality by foolishly leaving sensitive documents outside his house.
Employed as a consultant in the Mental Health Act, the documentation contained details of those lacking capacity and other vulnerable people. He was fined £2000 and ordered to pay £600 in costs.
Jamal Haider, formally of Stapleton Gardner Ltd in Yorkshire, was found guilty of taking advantage of client accounts on two separate occasions. He was given a written rebuke, fined £2000 and ordered to pay costs amounting to £600.
The financial controller and systems manager wrote two client account cheques to himself between the months of November 2017 and February of this year. He was in violation of at least two SRA rules and failed to keep the affairs of a client confidential.
The SRA claim: “Our role is to set, promote and secure in the public interest, standards of behaviour and professional performance necessary to ensure clients receive a good standard of service and the rule of law is upheld.
“Where, in our view, non-compliance represents a risk to the public or consumers or where, in our view, a firm fails to cooperate effectively with us, we may take formal enforcement action. In serious cases, we may control a practice or discipline a firm, or even remove them from practice if they represent a serious risk.”
Whilst some unscrupulous practitioners continue to abuse the trust given to them by both their firms and client, it is heartening to see that the SRA are using their increased powers to ensure legal service professionals operate transparently, fairly and in the interests of the consumer.
Do you think regulators do enough to ensure client safeguards and protocols are followed?