Israr Mohammed Malik
- Admitted on 15/10/2002. Annual practising certificate from 01/11/2019.
- Type of lawyer
- Solicitors Regulation Authority
- SRA Number
- Regulatory record
- Show regulatory record
The services this person can provide and the protections for clients depend on where this person works.
These are the disciplinary and regulatory decisions published under our decision publication policy.
Decision - Agreement
Outcome: Regulatory settlement agreement
Outcome date: 1 September 2020
Published date: 11 September 2020
Firm or organisation at time of matters giving rise to outcome
Name: Kingson Law Ltd
Address(es): Suite 3, 2-4 Piccadilly Corner, Piccadilly, Bradford, BD1 3LW
Firm ID: 599322
Firm or organisation at date of publication
Name: BMC Law Ltd
Address(es): Unit 8, Beck Mill Reva Syke Road, Clayton, Bradford, BD14 6QY
Firm ID: 607831
This outcome was reached by SRA decision.
1. Agreed outcome
1.1 Mr Israr Mohammed Malik, the former sole director of Kingson Law Ltd (the firm), agrees to the following outcome to the investigation of his conduct by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA):
- he is fined £2,000
- to the publication of this agreement
- he will pay the costs of the investigation of £600.
2. Summary of Facts
2.1 Mr Malik was the sole principal, Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA) of the firm.
Agreements between the firm’s clients and Company A
2.2 The firm conducted only personal injury work. The firm received approximately 95% of its work from Company A, a claims management company.
2.3 Between 7 March 2018 and 21 January 2019, 119 clients referred to the firm by Company A signed an agreement with Company A. This agreement contained a form authorising the firm to act for the client. The same form also:
- Authorised data to be shared with a medical reporting company linked to Company A, regardless of whether this was the company instructed to provide medical reports in a client’s matter.
- Waived the client’s right to cancel their instructions to the firm.
2.4 Mr Malik confirmed that these agreements were drafted by Company A without his input and that he had not advised clients on the content of these agreements.
Client information passed between firms
2.5 Mr Malik’s firm had close links to two other firms of solicitors (firms B and C). Staff at the firm also worked at these other firms concurrently or successively or both. Staff often worked at all three firms without written contracts and there was no training on risks to client confidentiality and data protection.
2.6 The firm acted for Mr and Mrs D in linked personal injury matters. The file of Mr D was transferred to firm C by the fee earner on the file, who also worked at firm C, without the consent of Mr D or the knowledge of Mr Malik. It was sometimes unclear at which firm fee earners were working when tasks were undertaken on both Mr and Mrs D’s files.
2.7 Mr and Mrs D complained to the firm about these issues in April and July 2017. Mr Malik responded to these complaints. However, changes were only made to the firm’s systems to address these issues in July 2019 (during the SRA investigation).
2.8 The firm closed on 31 October 2019.
3.1 Mr Malik makes the following admissions which the SRA accepts:
- By allowing company A, who provided his firm with most of its business, to prepare an agreement for his clients that was not in their best interests, Mr Malik allowed his independence to be compromised in breach of Principle 3 of the SRA Principles 2011.
- By failing to advise his clients that the agreements they signed with Company A were not in their best interests, Mr Malik breached Principle 4.
- By failing to exercise proper control over Mr D’s file such that it was transferred to another firm without his knowledge or Mr D’s consent, Mr Malik failed to achieve Outcome 4.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 (the Code).
- By not having appropriate systems and controls in place to identify and mitigate the risks to client confidentiality and data protection caused by fee earners moving between linked firms, Mr Malik breached Principles 6 and 8 and failed to achieve Outcomes 7.1 and 7.3 of the Code.
4. Why a fine is an appropriate outcome
4.1 The SRA’s Enforcement Strategy sets out its approach to the use of its enforcement powers where there has been a failure to meet its standards or requirements.
4.2 When considering the appropriate sanctions and controls in this matter, the SRA has taken into account the admissions made by Mr Malik and the following mitigation which he has put forward:
- The firm did not enforce the cancellation waiver in the agreements drafted by Company A, nor did they share medical information with the medical reporting company when it was not necessary.
- Mr Malik did not authorise the transfer of Mr D’s file to firm C. Instead, this was done by the fee earner on this matter (who worked concurrently at the firm and at firm C).
- After these issues had been raised with Mr Malik by the SRA, he put in place systems and controls to mitigate the risks to clients.
- Mr Malik offered Mr and Mrs D compensation for the deficiencies in the service they had received from the firm.
4.3 The SRA considers that a fine is the appropriate outcome because:
- Mr Malik was sole principal, COLP and COFA at the firm. He had direct responsibility for these issues.
- Fee earners moved between firms for several years with no formal contracts or training to prevent risks to client confidentiality. Clients signed the agreements with Company A over the period of at least nine months. Allowing such risks to client confidentiality and clients to sign agreements which were not in their best interests for an extended period of time demonstrated a reckless disregard of harm these issues could have caused to his clients.
- Mr Malik only noticed and rectified the issues with the structure of his firm and the agreements signed by his clients with Company A when prompted to do so by the SRA, despite being notified of issues with Mr and Mrs D’s files in their complaints to the firm.
4.4 A financial penalty is appropriate because Mr Malik’s conduct has been serious. A fine will act as a credible deterrent and thus maintain professional standards and uphold public confidence in the delivery of legal services and the solicitors’ profession. A financial penalty therefore meets the requirements of rule 4.1 of the Regulatory and Disciplinary Procedure Rules.
5. Amount of the fine
5.1 The amount of the fine has been calculated in line with the SRA’s published guidance on its approach to setting an appropriate financial penalty (the Guidance).
5.2 Having regard to the Guidance, the SRA and Mr Malik agree that the nature of the misconduct was high because he allowed fee earners to move between his firm and other associated firms without due regard for client confidentiality despite being alerted to potential issues with client confidentiality. He also allowed his independence to be compromised in his dealings with Company A to the potential detriment of his clients over a period of nine months. The Guidance gives this type of misconduct a score of three.
5.3 The SRA considers that the impact of the misconduct was low because Mr and Mrs D’s matter was not materially affected by the failure to safeguard their confidential information and they have received compensation from the firm. Also, Mr Malik has said that the firm did not enforce the unfair clauses in the agreement signed with Company A. The Guidance gives this level of impact a score of two.
5.4 The nature and impact scores add up to five. The Guidance indicates a broad penalty bracket of £1,000 to £5,000 is appropriate.
5.5 In deciding the level of fine within this bracket, the SRA has considered the mitigation at paragraph 4.2 above which Mr Malik has put forward as well as the other factors in the Guidance.
5.6 The SRA considers a specific figure for the basic penalty of £2000, which is in the middle of the bracket, to be appropriate. This recognises the seriousness of the misconduct on the part of Mr Malik and creates a credible deterrent to him not to repeat such behaviours and to others who may be engaged in similar conduct.
5.7 The basic penalty takes into account that Mr Malik was the sole principal at the firm and its COLP and that responsibility for these issues rests solely with him.
6.1 The SRA considers it appropriate that this agreement is published in the interests of transparency in the regulatory and disciplinary process. Mr Malik agrees to the publication of this agreement.
7. Acting in a way which is inconsistent with this agreement
7.1 Mr Malik agrees that he will not deny the admissions made in this agreement or act in any way which is inconsistent with it.
7.2 If Mr Malik denies the admissions or acts in a way which is inconsistent with this agreement, the conduct which is subject to this agreement may be considered further by the SRA. That may result in a disciplinary outcome or a referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on the original facts and allegations.
7.3 Denying the admissions made or acting in a way which is inconsistent with this agreement may also constitute a separate breach of Principles 2 and 5 of the Principles and paragraph 7.3 of the Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs.
8.1 Mr Malik agrees to pay the costs of the SRA's investigation in the sum of £600. Such costs are due within 28 days of a statement of costs due being issued by the SRA.