Two complaints dated 22 February 2012 (under the 2005 Rules) and 29 March 2012 (under the 2008 Rules) were made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Eileen Coogans, solicitor, Ayr.
The Tribunal found the respondent guilty of professional misconduct in cumulo in respect of her failure to record a standard security timeously, her failure to comply on two occasions with condition 2.1 of the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ Handbook, her failure to comply on two occasions with the terms of rule 6(1) of the Solicitors (Scotland) Accounts etc Rules 2001 by intromitting with funds from a lender when she had not fully complied with the requirements of the CML Handbook, and her failure on two occasions to comply with rule 24 of the 2001 Rules.
The Tribunal censured the respondent and restricted her practising certificate for a period of three years.
The Tribunal considered that the respondent was cavalier in the way that she dealt with lenders in the particular circumstances. The CML Handbook conditions are part of the lender’s instructions. They are there to prevent potential fraud. Failure to comply with these conditions is damaging to the reputation of the legal profession. The Tribunal considered that the respondent had shown a reckless disregard for complying with her client’s instructions.
The respondent accepted that in two transactions she did not have authority to draw down funds from the lender in circumstances where she knew that she had not fully complied with the terms of the CML Handbook, which explicitly prohibits the drawing down of funds unless there has been full compliance, and accordingly this was a breach of rule 6(1) of the Accounts Rules. The respondent also accepted that she had breached rule 24 of the Accounts Rules.
The Tribunal was of the view that the respondent’s failures, when considered together, would be viewed by competent and reputable solicitors as serious and reprehensible, and therefore were sufficient to meet the Sharp test.
Although some of the elements of misconduct on their own might not have been sufficient to amount to professional misconduct, the Tribunal made a finding in cumulo.
Due to previous findings of an analogous nature, the Tribunal was of the view that a restriction of the respondent’s practising certificate was required to protect the public and lenders.www.ssdt.org.uk
In this issue
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- Equal justice for all?
- Compatibility: devolution issues reborn
- Profiting from the past
- RTI for PAYE - are you ready?
- Reading for pleasure
- A modest proposal – civil marriage ceremonies for all
- Opinion column: Alistair Dean
- Book reviews
- President's column
- Fee review: as you were
- Time to draw a line?
- The pay gap: seeking a cure
- Wealth management: Personal injury trusts - how to best invest
- Wealth management: Discretion - the model of choice
- Wealth management: Inheritance tax - discounts up front
- Wealth management: Pensions - time to look ahead
- Whose privilege is it, anyway?
- FLAGS unfurled
- Percentage game
- Rent, rent and rent again
- Sport, rights, and the internet
- An innocent mistake?
- Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal
- The trouble with in-house lawyers
- Lease of life for the High Street?
- PSG update
- Vacant and ready
- ABS in waiting
- Better ways: where to start?
- Keeping errors in check
- Ask Ash
- How not to win business: a guide for professionals
- What does a speculative fee allow?
- Law reform roundup