Litigation Discliplinary Tribunals 20/06/95

DEREK PETER WATMOUGH, 48, admitted 1971, practised as Watters & Watmough, St Helens, Merseyside, struck off and ordered to pay £4,583 costs. Allegations substantiated he practised without practising certificate, used client funds for own purposes and those of other clients, sought to mislead client about professional conduct of her matter, forged a letter purporting to come from another firm of solicitors, failed to keep properly written accounts and failed to reply to a letter from Complaints Bureau. Tribunal told he had used one client's money to pay another client or clients who were "at his throat" following long delay in their matters. Watmough was previously before tribunal in May 1991 when he was fined £3,000 after allegations substantiated he misled or attempted to mislead a client as to the progress of a High Court claim, failed to comply with the directions of Complaints Bureau, continued to act for a client who he could not represent with competence and diligence, was to blame for delay in dealing with client's case, failed to reply to letters from the Complaints Bureau and failed to inform a client who might have had justification for claims against him to take independent advice. Tribunal said it was clear he had ceased to be able to cope.

RICHARD ALEXANDER DOBSON, admitted 1977, of Derby, fined £500 and ordered to pay £1,468 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to keep properly written account books, failed to cause balance of his client cashbook to be agreed with client's bank and building society passbooks or statements, and failed to deliver accountant's report on time. Tribunal told there was no allegation of dishonesty and no client money was missing. Tribunal said that filing accountants' reports on time was first bulwark of Law Society in ensuring client money was handled fairly, honestly and in accordance with accounting rules. Failure to file such a report meant Solicitors Complaints Bureau was not able to fulfil its policing of profession.

MORGAN RAYMOND FLYNN, 52, admitted 1970, practised as Ingham & Bridge, Burnley, Lancashire, struck off and ordered to pay £3,442 costs. Allegations substantiated he dishonestly or improperly used client money for his own purposes and paid money into office account which included payment for unbilled disbursements and unbilled costs. Tribunal told Flynn admitted misuse of client money and that compensation fund had made subvention grant to agents intervening in his practice of £17,932. Flynn told tribunal he had foolishly lent client account money but it was an isolated matter in a long and unblemished career. Tribunal said solicitor entrusted with client money had clear and invariable duty to retain it safely and deal with it properly and fairly. They took the view that his actions had been dishonest.

forthcoming case