High Court confirms test for SRA interventions

In a decision handed down by HHJ Behrens sitting in the High Court the law around the approriate approach and test for an appeal against a Law Society Intervention Order against a firm of solicitors was confirmed. Jeremy Barnett appeared for the Claimant, Andrew Tabachnick represented the Law Society.

In a decision handed down by HH Judge Behrens sitting in the High Court today, the law around the approriate approach and test for an appeal against a Law Society Intervention Order against a firm of solicitors was confirmed. Jeremy Barnett appeared for the Claimant, Andrew Tabachnick represented the Law Society.

Todays decision in Ramasamy v Law Society a decision of HH Judge Beherns, the senior Chancery Judge at Leeds who was sitting in the High Court at London, reaffirms the test for an intervention that was set out by Newey J in Elsdon v Law Society last year. Jeremy Barnett appeared as counsel for the claimant in both cases.

The two decisions confirm that there is no burden of proof upon a claimant (or appellant) to show that there is no risk of dishonesty if the intervention is to be overturned, but that the Judge must look for ‘Clear and Cogent Evidence of Dishonesty’ and undertake a risk assessment, in the same manner as interim panels conduct hearings before the MPTS, the NMC and other professional regulators.

Click here to read the full judgme20160311-hh-judge-behrens-11th-march-2016nt of Judge Beherns. The decisions are interesting as appeals against an intervention order are few and far between. The main reason for this is that when a firm is intervened, the bank accounts are frozen with the usual result that the solicitor partners often face personal bankruptcy as they lose all of their income as their files are sent out to other law firms but they still face personal responsibility for the costs of intervention, which can often be enormous.

Jeremy was instructed by Ian Coupland of Lewis Nedas Law.

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