A nervous disposition
In three recent judgments handed down by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (the ‘Tribunal’) – Solicitors Regulation Authority v Orton, Solicitors Regulation Authority v Panesar-Jagdev, and Solicitors Regulation Authority v McCullagh – the Tribunal found allegations of dishonesty proved but decided the circumstances fell within the small residual category of ‘exceptional circumstances’, thus warranting a more lenient sanction. In this blog, we consider recent case law in this area and, in particular, look at when the general rule of strike off for dishonesty has and has not been judged an appropriate sanction.
In our fourth blog in our series on Beckwith v Solicitors Regulation Authority  EWHC 3231 (Admin), we turn our attention to consider what impact, if any, this landmark decision might have on the regulation of professional accountants. While the case turned on some very specific features relating to the regulation of solicitors as contained in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Principles and Code of conduct, some parts of the judgment may have more general application.
The decision of the Divisional Court in Beckwith v SRA  EWHC 3231 (Admin) has attracted extensive press attention as it is the first SRA case involving allegations of sexual misconduct that are not based on criminal conviction to reach the High Court. In high level terms the Court found that sexual misconduct cases should be confined to cases that clearly engage the SRA’s Code of Conduct and expressed the view that there were limits on how far a regulator should take action in relation to matters of private life.
As another case involving allegations of sexual misconduct relating to a senior partner of a law firm has been concluded before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal just this week, resulting in the imposition of a £10,000 fine being confirmed on 22 July 2020, it is perhaps safe to say that, for now, there is no sign that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has lost its appetite to investigate and act on reports of this nature that it receives.
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