Decision - Employee-related decision
Outcome: Control of non-qualified staff (Section 43 / Section 99 order)
Outcome date: 3 March 2023
Published date: 30 March 2023
Firm or organisation at time of matters giving rise to outcome
Name: Aston Bond Law Limited
Address(es): Windsor Crown House, 7 Windsor Road, Slough, SL1 2DX
Firm ID: 567727
This outcome was reached by SRA decision.
Summary of decision
The SRA has put restrictions on where and how Mr Sharif can work in an SRA regulated firm. It was found that between 1 April 2017 and 21 June 2018, Mr Sharif misappropriated £347,917.79 from Aston Bond Law Limited’s (the firm) client and office bank accounts and attempted to conceal from the firm that he had done so. Mr Sharif was found to be dishonest.
The facts of the case
Mr Sharif worked at Aston Bond Law Limited (the firm) as a bookkeeper and legal cashier from 1 July 2014 until 21 June 2018. The firm is a licensed body but was a recognised body when Mr Sharif worked there. The firm ended Mr Sharif’s employment after it discovered that he had misappropriated money from the firm’s client and office accounts.
The firm subsequently issued proceedings in the High Court, and on 17 June 2019 obtained a judgment against Mr Sharif in the sum of £353,093.58. This comprised £347,917.79 which Mr Sharif was found to have misappropriated from the firm’s client and office accounts plus a payment of £5,175.79 in interest on that sum.
Our decision on outcome
An order pursuant to section 43(2) of the Solicitors Act 1974 was imposed as Mr Sharif’s conduct meant that it was undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice without the SRA’s prior approval.
This was because of the serious nature of his conduct in dishonestly misappropriating £347,917.79 from the firm’s client and office accounts.
The order had immediate effect because of the seriousness of his conduct and the need to impose a regulatory control on him as soon as possible to prevent him from working in another regulated entity without the SRA’s permission. This was because of the serious risks posed to the public and to others regulated by the SRA by his conduct.
Mr Sharif was also ordered to pay the SRA’s costs of £600.
What our Section 43 order means
To make an order pursuant to section 43 that with immediate effect:
- no solicitor shall employ or remunerate him in connection with his/her 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; and
- no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit him to have an interest in the body
except in accordance with the SRA’s permission.