Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 11/04/95

PRAN HANDA, self employed, unadmitted associate with London SW9 firms of Melichior & Co and Procaccini & Co at material times banned from working for any further solicitors without written consent from Law Society. Allegations substantiated that Handa misused money held by him on behalf of clients by using it for his own purposes and those of unrelated clients, that he misled the Law Society Compensation Fund as to circumstances of use of client money and that he misled a court, client and other as to amount of money held by him on behalf of client. Tribunal told he took client money and treated it as his own. Tribunal said that his behaviour had gone far beyond any authority that may have been given to him by clients and that his handling of client funds had shown "a cavalier disregard for the trust placed in him by his client." Some u20,000 of client money remained unaccounted for at the time of the tribunal hearing.

SUSAN CAMPBELL, 28, admitted 1992, an assistant solicitor with Albinos Napier & Co, Warrington, at material times, struck off and ordered to pay u750 costs. Allegations substantiated that she used client money for improper purposes, sought to mislead employers about conduct of professional matter, misled clients about conduct of professional matter, forged letter of authority from client to the Legal Aid Board, forged acknowledgement of service in divorce proceedings, forged attachment of earnings order, intercepted bank statements of her employers and suppressed them in order to conceal misuse of client money and failed to reply to letters from clients and/or??????? other solicitors. Tribunal said it was a sad case for someone so young to find themselves in the position of the respondent but her conduct had been so reprehensible that the ultimate sanction of striking off had to be imposed. Campbell in her submissions said that she was upset and ashamed at her actions and could not justify them other than by referring to the pressure she had been under and with which she had been unable to come to terms.

DAVID WILSON PROBERT, 45, admitted 1971, practised as Watson Probert, Walthamstow, struck off and ordered to pay u2,991 costs. Allegations substantiated that he failed to pay client money received by him into client account, drew and wrongly used client money. Tribunal told that the Compensation Fund faced claims of u17,245 as result of Probert's activities. Probert told tribunal that since the matters complained of had come to light he had been made bankrupt and was surviving by driving a mini cab. Tribunal said that dishonesty had not been alleged against him and Probert had been "guilty of muddle and incompetence" rather than actually setting out to steal his clients' money. However, they said that Probert's unsatisfactory handling of client money remained in breach of the trust that had been placed in him by clients and as such it amounted to behaviour which was unacceptable.