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After protracted litigation, the appellants had been made bankrupt on petitions presented by their former solicitors in respect of unpaid costs orders obtained when the solicitors were substantially successful in obtaining an interim order for payment of their fees. M was the individual dealing with the matter at the solicitors firm. The appellants made several annulment applications, none of which succeeded. Subsequently, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that M be struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered him to pay costs of £1.4m, with many findings of serious misconduct were made against him, including findings of dishonest misrepresentations as to his professional status, academic qualifications and experience whereby he gained admission to the roll. The appellants sought to appeal the interim order in relation to the fees and against the last refusal of the annulments. In granting the appeals out of time, Robert Ham QC (sitting as a deputy High Court judge) admitted the fresh evidence relating to the professional misconduct proceedings should be admitted. Since it was arguable that M was not a solicitor, the interim order and order for costs were challengeable and the bankruptcy orders made on them could not stand. But the costs of the Official Receiver and the trustee in bankruptcy should be paid by the appellants.
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