A solicitor has been struck off the roll, and another suspended from practice for two years, by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal in two separate cases.
Gerard Tierney, formerly of G Tierney & Co, Auchinleck, Ayrshire, was struck off after being found guilty of professional misconduct by submitting 24 criminal and 21 civil legal aid accounts to the Scottish Legal Aid Board and accepting payment when some of the contents were fictitious or at least inaccurate and overstated; failing to obtain signed client mandates in relation to five cases; and failing to ensure properly completed mandates were held on the files in relation to seven cases.
The tribunal said that Mr Tierney's conduct "has at its core a clear element of dishonesty". This was conduct "at the very highest end of the scale of misconduct", having been engaged in over a number of years, and was clearly deliberate and designed to result in a financial gain. There had been little indication in Mr Tierney's submissions of any sign of remorse or insight into the serious nature of his conduct.
Two complaints were brought against Mr Thompson, who practised as PT Legal in Glasgow and from his home in Ayrshire. The tribunal found that between 4 February 2011 and 28 October 2013 he repeatedly failed to cooperate with the Law Society of Scotland by failing to respond to communications, to provide accounts certificates, and to produce accounting records and information; failing to reply to enquiries of the Society when they investigated, and to comply with notices served on him; and repeatedly failing between 9 July 2014 and 26 January 2015 to cooperate with the Society and failed to respond to letters in connection with the complaint of a client, or to comply with notices served upon him.
Suspending Mr Thompson, who did not appear to answer the complaint, for a period of two years, the tribunal said there had been a complete failure to cooperate with his regulatory body, which exercises its function to protect the public. This conduct was at a high level of seriousness and had gone on for years. His lack of cooperation with the regulation of his accounting practices caused the tribunal particular concern.