A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against (first) Alan Niall Macpherson Mickel and (second) Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, solicitors, Glasgow. The respondents failed to keep properly written up such accounting records as were necessary to show all the practice unit’s dealings with clients’ money, in breach of rule B6.7.1. They borrowed money from a client trust in breach of rule B6.20. They also acted in a conflict of interest situation in breach of rule B1.7.1.
The respondents were experienced solicitors, and partners and directors of the practice unit. They had both acted as cashroom manager at various times. The second respondent was the cashroom manager during the period covered in the averments of misconduct against her. They were both trustees of the client trust. Competent and reputable solicitors would have made the necessary enquiries to satisfy themselves with regard to compliance. The respondents ought to have understood the relationship which existed between the trust and the practice unit. They had responsibilities to both and were uniquely placed to make that assessment. The Tribunal accepted that neither respondent was experienced in the area of trust law. However, they were partners and directors of the practice unit and therefore ought to have known the accounts rules and been able to apply them to these circumstances. Solicitors were obliged by their profession to comply with the rules. Ignorance of the rules was insufficient to absolve solicitors of their responsibilities. Adherence to the rules was essential to maintain public trust in the profession.
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