Matthew John Elash
- Admitted on 15/04/2009. Annual practising certificate from 01/11/2023.
- Type of lawyer
- Solicitors Regulation Authority
- SRA number
- Regulatory record
- Show regulatory record
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These are the disciplinary and regulatory decisions published under our decision publication policy.
Decision - Agreement
Outcome: Regulatory settlement agreement
Outcome date: 20 October 2021
Published date: 27 October 2021
Firm or organisation at date of publication and at time of matters giving rise to outcome
Name: Ewan and Co Solicitors
Address(es): 11 Rosemont Road, London, NW3 6NG
Firm ID: 631399
This outcome was reached by agreement.
1. Agreed outcome
1.1 Matthew John Elash, a solicitor, agrees to the following outcome to the investigation of his conduct by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA):
- he is fined £1100
- to the publication of this agreement
- he will pay the costs of the investigation of £300.
2. Summary of Facts
2.1 On 15 January 2021, Mr Elash crashed into a stationary vehicle while driving his car. There were no injuries caused to any persons but the police were called.
2.2 Mr Elash was subsequently arrested and on 16 January 2021, he was charged with the offence of driving a motor vehicle when his alcohol level was above the prescribed limit.
2.3 On 1 March 2021, Mr Elash pleaded guilty at North West London Magistrates Court to the offence of driving a motor vehicle when his alcohol level was above the prescribed limit.
2.4 Mr Elash was disqualified from driving for 24 months to be reduced by 24 weeks on completion of a course approved by the secretary of state and fined £1,988.
2.5 Mr Elash notified the SRA on 2 March 2021.
3.1 Mr Elash makes the following admissions which the SRA accepts:
- by virtue of his conduct and conviction for driving a motor vehicle when his alcohol level was above the prescribed limit, he failed to behave in a way which upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors' profession and in legal services provided by authorised persons in breach of Principle 2 of the SRA Principles.
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. The topic guide for driving with excess alcohol conviction also provides insight on the approach to enforcement and indicative sanctions guidelines.
4.2 When considering the appropriate sanctions and controls in this matter, the SRA has taken into account the admissions made by Mr Elash and the following mitigation which he has put forward:
- This is an isolated incident as he has no previous convictions for this type of offence.
- He promptly reported his conviction to the SRA and he has cooperated fully with its investigation.
- He has expressed insight and remorse for his conduct.
- He paid his fine of £1,988 in full on 4 March 2021 and has undertaken to complete the driving course as soon as he can.
4.3 The SRA considers that a fine is the appropriate outcome because:
- there was a disregard to the risk of harm. In this case, Mr Elash's behaviour caused harm because he damaged another vehicle.
- A public sanction is required to uphold public confidence in the delivery of legal services.
4.4 A fine is appropriate to uphold professional standards and uphold public confidence in the solicitors' profession and in legal services provided by authorised persons because of the seriousness of his conduct. Any lesser sanction would not provide a credible deterrent to Mr Elash and others. 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 Elash agree that the nature of the misconduct was low/medium because he cooperated with our investigation and there is no pattern of misconduct. The Guidance gives this type of misconduct a score of one.
5.3 The SRA considers that the impact of the misconduct was medium because Mr Elash caused damage to the property of others. The Guidance gives this level of impact a score of four.
5.4 The nature and impact scores add up to five. The Guidance indicates a broad penalty bracket of £1001 to £5000 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 Elash has put forward.
5.6 On this basis, the SRA consider that because this was an isolated incident, and there is no pattern of behaviour, a fine at the lower end of the bracket is appropriate. However, this must be balanced against the aggravating factors in the case, which are that Mr Elash had a particularly high level of alcohol in his breath and that he was sentenced to a lengthy disqualification. The SRA considers a basic penalty of £1100 to be appropriate.
6.1 The SRA considers it appropriate that this agreement is published in the interests of transparency in the regulatory and disciplinary process. Mr Elash agrees to the publication of this agreement.
7. Acting in a way which is inconsistent with this agreement
7.1 Mr Elash 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 Elash 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 Elash agrees to pay the costs of the SRA's investigation in the sum of £300. Such costs are due within 28 days of a statement of costs due being issued by the SRA.