Partner struck off for employing banned solicitor
Solicitor Kuldip Singh has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after knowingly hiring a solicitor that has been struck off for malpractice concerning his firm's client account.
Singh, a partner and compliance officer at SJ Solicitors in Ilford, applied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for permission to hire the banned solicitor but was refused on the basis that he posed “a substantial risk” to the public.
Despite this, the tribunal found that the banned solicitor worked out of the firm for 18 months and received three payments, amounting to £2,500, from the firm’s client account. The SDT said Singh’s “overall motivation was to keep his practice afloat”.
He employed the struck off solicitor, known as Mr O, in order to profit from clients that he would refer to the firm. The tribunal found that the “respondent’s actions caused harm both to clients and to the reputation of the profession”.
It ruled that “dishonesty had been found proved in respect of two allegations” and that “the misconduct generally continued over a period of time”.
“The respondent ought to have known that the conduct complained of was in material breach of his obligations to protect the public and the reputation of the profession”, it added.
The tribunal found that there were no mitigating factors to Singh’s behaviour. He referred to anxiety and depression in correspondence but did not provide any evidence of ill health. As such he was struck off and ordered to pay £56,000 in costs.