Decision - Employee-related decision
Outcome: Control of non-qualified staff (Section 43 / Section 99 order)
Outcome date: 22 September 2021
Published date: 24 September 2021
Firm or organisation at time of matters giving rise to outcome
Name: Johnson Law Limited
Address(es): 29-31 Knowsley Street, Lancashire
Firm ID: 426646
This outcome was reached by SRA decision.
IN THE MATTER OF: Louise Ryan of Preston, Lancashire
A person who is or was involved in a legal practice but is not a solicitor.
Ms Ryan was the Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA) for Johnson Law Limited, whose head office was at 29-31 Knowsley Street Bolton B1 2AS, between January 2013 and January 2018. The firm closed on 9 January 2018 and went into administration on 15 January 2018. The SRA intervened into the remnants of the firm on 23 September 2020.
A forensic investigation into the firm reported that a client account shortage had arisen when the firm received money for the purposes of discharging disbursements and failed to either pay those disbursements to the appropriate recipients or hold the money in the firm’s client account.
It was found that Ms Ryan was involved in the misuse of client money received in respect of disbursements while at Johnson Law Limited, and she failed to report the issue to the SRA.
Ms Ryan, who is not a solicitor, was involved in a legal practice and has occasioned or been a party to an act or default which involved such conduct on her part that it is undesirable for her to be involved in a legal practice in any of the ways described in the order below.
To make an order pursuant to section 43 that with effect from the date of the letter or email notifying Ms Ryan of this decision:
- no solicitor shall employ or remunerate er in connection with his/her practice as a solicitor;
- no employee of a solicitor shall employ or remunerate her in connection with the solicitor's practice;
- no recognised body shall employ or remunerate her;
- no manager or employee of a recognised body shall employ or remunerate her in connection with the business of that body;
- no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit her to be a manager of the body; and
- no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit her to have an interest in the body
except in accordance with the SRA’s prior written permission.