Monday, March 30, 2015

News: SRA closes down Rotherham solicitors

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which regulates more than 130,000 solicitors in England and Wales, has stepped in and closed down the operations of-125-year-old Rotherham solicitors, Gichard & Co.


The SRA is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and regulates the conduct of solicitors and law firms to protect consumers and to support the rule of law and the administration of justice. A panel at the authority agreed that the Doncaster Gate legal firm had failed to comply with the rules made by the SRA by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985.

The panel also investigated Charles Rhodes, senior partner at Gichard & Co and found that "there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Mr Rhodes." As with Mr Rhodes, a decision on Jeremy Copestake, a solicitor at Gichard & Co, determined that he had failed to comply with the rules made by virtue of section 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974, which relates to practising certificates required by solicitors on the roll and working in private practice.

The findings meant that the SRA had grounds to intervene to protect the interests of clients and the decision was made to close the firm. John Owen of Gordons LLP in Bradford has been appointed as the intervening agent.

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The intervention means that Gichard & Co can no longer act for its clients and the SRA has taken all documents and papers that relate to its clients, including files and accounting records. The same goes for all money held by the firm, including its clients' money.

Leading Rotherham firm Malcolm C Foy & Co has acted quickly to offer support and help for previous Gichard clients. Conveyancing specialists or private client team members can obtain the files and take conduct over the case. A spokesperson at Malcolm C Foy & Co said: "We will guide you through the next steps ensuring your file is progressed and that the closure of Gichard & Co has no detrimental effect to your case."

Malcolm C Foy & Co website

Images: SRA

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