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SRA fines Hansells and solicitor Roger Holden for financial misconduct

SRA fines Hansells and solicitor Roger Holden for financial misconduct


The SRA fined Hansells £120,885 and Roger Holden £3,223 for failing to safeguard client funds

On 19 April 2024, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) fined Hansells, a licensed body based in Norwich, £120,885 and ordered it to pay £1,350 in costs. The fine represents 3.2% of the firm's gross annual turnover. The penalty was imposed due to Hansells' failure to replace client money improperly withdrawn from its client account between 1 April 2014 and 25 March 2022.

The misconduct originated from a 2001 error by Hansells' predecessor in handling an estate's administration, leading to incorrect distribution of funds. Although some funds were corrected between 2001 and 2014, a shortfall of £21,958.38 remained when Hansells became a licensed body. This shortfall persisted until 25 March 2022, prompting the SRA's action.

Simultaneously, Roger Holden, a solicitor and manager at Hansells, was fined £3,223 (32% of his gross annual income) for conflicts of interest while administering the estate and failing to ensure the firm’s compliance with regulatory standards. Roger Holden's misconduct spanned from his appointment as the estate's administrator in 2004 to July 2022.

Both Hansells and Roger Holden faced penalties for their serious misconduct, including a failure to protect client funds and uphold public trust, with the SRA emphasizing the importance of credible deterrents in maintaining professional standards.