Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 08/10/96

Kenneth James Crawley, admitted 1980, practising at material times in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, struck off and ordered to pay £4,236 costs. Allegations substantiated that he wrongly drew and used client account money, failed to keep properly written books, failed to reply to letters from client and Solicitors Complaints Bureau, failed to carry out retainer using proper care and skill, and failed to deal with matter as instructed with appropriate care, skill, diligence and promptness. Tribunal told that as result of Crawley's activities the Compensation Fund had faced an application for a grant of £15,847. The claims related to conveyanc ing matters in which Crawley had acted for vendors but had failed to account for the commission payments even though there was documentary evidence showing he had been put in funds to enable him to settle estate agent's accounts.

Michael John Cooksey, 66, admitted 1951, practising at material times as Pitt & Cooksey, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £4,881 costs. Tribunal also ordered he pay £4,825 to counsel Edward Cole within 28 days of tribunal finding. Allegations substantiated he failed to pay counsel's fees in compliance with tribunal award. Tribunal told that in 1991 joint tribunal comprising members appointed by the Bar and Law Society awarded Cole £8,311 in respect of fees but Cooksey did not comply with terms of award. Cooksey previously before tribunal in May 1970 and January 1996. On the latter occasion he was fined £5,000. Tribunal said there was no doubt his behaviour had been unbefitting a solicitor. Respondent had at time of hearing paid £6,750 to counsel but still owed £4,825 which it ordered he should pay. Tribunal had given serious consideration to depriving him of his right to practise.

Keith Norman Walton, 52, admitted 1969, practising at material times as Walton & Co, Stockport, Cheshire, suspended for five years and ordered to pay £4,852 costs. Allegations substantiated that he failed to deliver accountants report on time, failed to keep properly written accounts, failed to produce accounts books when required to do so, failed to comply with professional undertaking, deducted sums from employee's salary in respect of PAYE tax and National Insurance but failed to remit money to Inland Revenue and National Insurance, acted in a fashion that compromised or impaired or was likely to compromise or impair his good reputation and that of the profession. Tribunal said Walton was a solicitor of 25 years' standing who had "totally abrogated the responsibilities he had to himself and the profession". As a result he had put himself and others in serious difficulty.

Alexander Ian Fraser, 51, admitted 1981, practising at material times as Frasers, London N19, fined £4,000. Allegations substantiated that he was guilty of failing to reply to letters from Solicitors Complaints Bureau, failed to keep properly written accounts, wrongly drew and used client money for his own purposes and the purposes of other clients. Fraser previously before the tribunal in 1995 when he was fined £1,500 for failure to reply to correspondence from SCB, failure to conduct clients' affairs with reasonable promptness and failure to reply adequately to a client. Tribunal took the view that Fraser was not deliberately in breach of professional obligations and that he had not been dishonest.