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Allegations that solicitors had acted dishonestly did not meet the criminal standard of proof although it was probable that the allegations were true. The sanctions that had been imposed would be changed from financial penalties to periods of suspension.
1 June 2012
Richards LJ; Maddison J
On appeal from: Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
(1) The Law Society (LS) appealed against decisions of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in relation to two solicitors - David Smith (S) and Neil Parsonage (P). S and P had been partners in a firm and were subject to disciplinary proceedings concerning five allegation of making transfers from client accounts in contravention of the Solicitors' Accounts Rules 1998. In relation to the first three allegations, dishonesty was not alleged. In relation to the final two allegations, dishonesty was alleged. At the beginning of the hearing, the tribunal was told that S and P admitted the allegations and that the sole issue was whether they had acted dishonestly. The tribunal held that in relation to the final two allegations, dishonesty had not been made out. The tribunal imposed financial penalties on the respondents. The issues were (i) should the matter be remitted to the tribunal; (ii) had S or P acted dishonestly; (iii) the nature of any appropriate penalty.
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