Reports relating to Ian MacLachlan Allan; Euan Charles Chisholm; Alan Leslie Grassick

Ian MacLachlan Allan

A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Ian MacLachlan Allan, solicitor, Messrs Stenhouse, Husband & Irvine, 3 East Port, Dunfermline (“the respondent”). The Tribunal found the respondent guilty of professional misconduct singly and in cumulo in respect of his failure to have a disposition in favour of his clients timeously stamped and recorded and his persistent failure to answer correspondence from other solicitors.

The Tribunal censured the respondent and fined him in the sum of £2,000.

The Tribunal took account of the respondent’s previous unblemished character in the profession. The Tribunal noted that these failures were an isolated occurrence during a period when the respondent’s only member of staff had an eight week unplanned absence from work for medical reasons. The Tribunal also noted that all matters had now been satisfactorily resolved. However, the Tribunal considered that it was the respondent’s responsibility to deal promptly with stamping the disposition and recording the disposition to protect his clients’ interests and to deal openly, timeously and effectively with professional correspondence from fellow solicitors. The Tribunal considered that it is essential that solicitors can trust each other to respond promptly to enquiries from other firms in order to be able to transact their business without incurring delays which may prejudice their clients’ interests.

Euan Charles Chisholm

A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Euan Charles Chisholm, solicitor, Buckie, Aberdeenshire (“the respondent”). The Tribunal made no finding of professional misconduct.

The Tribunal noted the terms of the respondent’s answers and did not find it proved beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent’s actions in taking confirmation in terms of a will, in his own name and that of his former business partner Ms B, when he was on notice that Ms B did not wish her name on documents, were deliberate rather than being as a result of an oversight. The Tribunal also noted that the complaint related to one single incident rather than a series of incidents. The Tribunal also considered that the respondent’s letter to Ms B of 8 May 2007 contained an implication that Ms B had been confirmed as an executor because the letter referred to the administration of the estate as being practically completed and the Tribunal considered that an experienced solicitor would have known that this must have meant that confirmation had been granted. The Tribunal noted the position with regard to Ms B no longer being a practising solicitor and not having professional indemnity insurance in place, but considered that the respondent’s professional indemnity insurance would have covered the situation should any liabilities have arisen from her position as an executor. In the circumstances, although the Tribunal had some concerns with regard to the respondent’s conduct and considered that his conduct would in all probability be sufficient to amount to unsatisfactory professional conduct, the Tribunal did not consider that this single incident was sufficiently serious to meet the serious and reprehensible test as set out in the Sharp case. Given that the Tribunal recognised that the Society requires to bring these cases in the public interest and given that the Tribunal considered that the respondent’s actions might well be unsatisfactory professional conduct, the Tribunal made no award of expenses due to or by either party.

Alan Leslie Grassick

A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Alan Leslie Grassick, solicitor, Glasgow (“the respondent”). The Tribunal found the respondent guilty of professional misconduct in respect of his misappropriation either for personal gain or for the benefit of others the sum of at least £214,098.77 of funds belonging to clients. The Tribunal ordered that the name of the respondent be struck off the Roll of Solicitors in Scotland.

The Tribunal noted that the respondent had entered into a joint minute and had co-operated with the Society. The Tribunal was also pleased to note that the respondent had repaid all the sums identified by the insurers. The fact remained however that the respondent misappropriated at least £214,098.77 from clients of the firm of BMK. This conduct was unfortunately serious and reprehensible and totally contrary to the duty on solicitors to be people of honesty, truthfulness and integrity. The Tribunal felt that there was no alternative but to strike the respondent’s name from the Roll of Solicitors in Scotland.

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