Decision - Agreement
Outcome: Regulatory settlement agreement
Outcome date: 3 March 2020
Published date: 10 March 2020
Firm or organisation at time of matters giving rise to outcome
Name: Reiss Solicitors Limited
Address(es): 243 Manningham Lane, Bradford, BD8 7ER
Firm ID: 243 Manningham Lane, Bradford, BD8 7ER
This outcome was reached by SRA decision.
1. Agreed outcome
1.1 Javaid Iqbal, a former consultant of Reiss Solicitors (the Firm), agrees to the following outcome to the investigation of his conduct by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA):
- to the SRA making an order under section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (a section 43 order) in relation to him that, from the date of this agreement:
- no solicitor shall employ or remunerate him in connection with his practice as a solicitor
- no employee of a solicitor shall employ or remunerate him in connection with the solicitor's practice
- no recognised body shall employ or remunerate him
- no manager or employee of a recognised body shall employ or remunerate him in connection with the business of that body
- no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit him to be a manager of the body
- no recognised body or manager or employee of such body shall permit him to have an interest in the body
except in accordance with the SRA's prior permission
- to the publication of this agreement
- he will pay the costs of the investigation of £300.
2. Summary of facts
2.1 Mr Iqbal was a self-employed consultant at the Firm from 1 April 2014 to 18 December 2017.
2.2 Mr Iqbal was instructed on a matter. Between 20 October 2016 and 8 December 2017, the client paid at least £8,480 into Mr Iqbal’s personal bank account in connection with the matter. On 12 December 2017 the client transferred the matter to another firm of solicitors.
2.3 On 15 December 2017 the client’s new solicitor emailed the Firm to advise that their client previously had transferred money to Mr Iqbal’s personal bank account.
2.4 On 18 December 2017 the Firm met with Mr Iqbal and he confirmed that he had accepted money from the client into his personal bank account. The Firm dismissed Mr Iqbal with immediate effect and asked him to transfer the client’s money into the Firm’s client account.
2.5 On 22 December 2017 Mr Iqbal paid £4,000 into the Firm’s client account. On 27 December 2017 he paid a further £4,480 to the Firm’s client account. The Firm used these funds to pay disbursements which were owed in connection with the client’s matter.
3.1 Mr Iqbal makes the following admissions which the SRA accepts:
- that by taking payments from a client of the Firm totalling at least £8,480 into his personal bank account, involved conduct which means that it is undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice
- that his conduct set out above was dishonest.
4. Why a section 43 order is appropriate
4.1 The SRA’s Enforcement Strategy and its guidance on how it regulates non-authorised persons, sets out its approach to using section 43 orders to control where a non-authorised person can work.
4.2 When considering whether a section 43 order is appropriate in this matter, the SRA has taken into account the admissions made by Mr Iqbal. He has not put forward any mitigation.
4.3 The SRA and Mr Iqbal agree that a section 43 order is appropriate because:
- Mr Iqbal is not a solicitor
- he was employed or remunerated by the Firm and so was involved in a legal practice
- by accepting client monies directly into his own personal bank account and retaining it there, when it should have been paid into the Firm’s client account, Mr Iqbal has occasioned or been party to an act or default in relation to a legal practice. Mr Iqbal’s conduct in relation to that act or default makes it undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice.
4.4 Mr Iqbal's conduct makes it undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice because he cannot be trusted to act honestly and in clients’ best interests.
5.1 The SRA considers it appropriate that this agreement is published in the interests of transparency in the regulatory process. Mr Iqbal agrees to the publication of this agreement.
6. Acting in a way which is inconsistent with this agreement
6.1 Mr Iqbal agrees that he will not deny the admissions made in this agreement or act in any way which is inconsistent with it.
7.1 Mr Iqbal 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.