Wednesday 20 September 2017

Suspended solicitor wants to continue working

A SOLICITOR found to have a deficit of at least €216,000 in her client account wants to continue working, the High Court heard.

The solicitor, who cannot be named by court order, has been suspended pending a hearing by the Law Society’s Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) into allegations of misconduct against her.

However, High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns was told today she wants to resume working pending that hearing although is offering to only do so under the supervision of another solicitor and not as a partner or sole practitioner.   Another solicitor has already agreed to take her on in that role.

John Fitzgerald SC, for the solicitor, said she had a serious tragedy in her life and despite the client account deficit, nobody was out of pocket and there would be no claim on the Law Society’s compensation fund.

The judge adjourned the matter to see if an early date for the SDT hearing could be obtained.  He was told it could be upto a year before a hearing takes place which he said almost amounted to a solicitor being struck off.   The fact that another solicitor had offered to take her on would have a bearing on any decision to lift the suspension, he said.

Earlier, James McDermott BL, for the society, said an investigation had discovered the €216,000 deficit and while it appeared there were only three clients involved at this stage, it was difficult to ascertain the full extent of the deficit. This was because of “teeming and lading” of the accounts, a practice of concealing and switching payments to make the books balance, he said.

 

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