Hazelhurst and Others v Solicitors Regulation Authority: Admn 11 Mar 2011

The claimants appealed against disciplinary orders. A member of staff had stolen substantial sums from client account. They had admitted breaches of the Accounts and Practice rules, but personally made good all losses. They said that the Solicitors Discliplinary Tribunal had failed to give adequate reasons for its decisions.
Held: The appeal succeeded: ‘the SDT failed to give any reasons for its apparent refusal to take into account any of the mitigating factors it referred to in its judgment and accordingly allow the first ground of appeal. As the matters relied upon by the appellants in this ground of appeal go to the core of their case, of itself, it provides a sufficient reason for this court to revisit the decision of the SDT.’
The court considered the appropriate penalty and said: ‘The responsibility of the appellants for the breach and the need to maintain public confidence in the profession require the imposition of a sanction. Determination of the appropriate sanction requires account to be taken of the appellants’ conduct. Conduct which positively reflects upon the appellants’ character can be viewed by the public as evidence of their own trustworthiness. I regard their conduct as identified in paragraph 43 above as such evidence. Each appellant has made his own financial reparation; as a result no client has suffered. This latter fact is relevant to the question of whether a financial penalty is appropriate.’

Nicola Davies DBE J
[2011] EWHC 462 (Admin)
Solicitors Act 1974
England and Wales
CitedBolton v The Law Society CA 8-Dec-1993
The solicitor who had been admitted to the Roll for two years had disbursed clients money to relatives, as part of the conveyance of property without adequate security but in the expectation that the money would be repaid. The Tribunal found that . .
CitedEnglish v Emery Reimbold and Strick Ltd; etc, (Practice Note) CA 30-Apr-2002
Judge’s Reasons Must Show How Reached
In each case appeals were made, following Flannery, complaining of a lack of reasons given by the judge for his decision.
Held: Human Rights jurisprudence required judges to put parties into a position where they could understand how the . .
CitedMacleod v The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (the Disciplinary Committee of the Rcvs) PC 24-Jul-2006
Held: The brevity of the disciplinary committee’s consideration of the issues relating to sanction, as contained in its determination, permitted the court to examine afresh the appropriateness of the penalty imposed. . .

Cited by:
CitedBass and Another v Solicitors Regulation Authority Admn 18-Jul-2012
The appellants challenged the decision of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal finding them in breach of the 1998 Rules in that they had failed to prevent a former partner making unauthorised, if small, withdrawals of residual balances from client . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.430526