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The named partner of Italian firm Giambrone Law, Gabriele Giambrone, is fighting the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) over the decision to remove him from the SRA’s register of European lawyers.
Giambrone was removed from the roll in February after the SDT found he had breached the professional code of conduct and accounts rules, with the misconduct arising from a conveyancing practice involving the purchase of properties abroad, mainly in Italy (27 February 2013).
As well as being removed from the SRA register of foreign lawyers, Giambrone was ordered to pay costs of £70,000.
Complaints were first made to the SRA in April 2008 and after a four-year investigation the regulator instructed Farrer Buildings’ Geoffrey Williams QC to advise it on a disciplinary proceedings against him.
The SDT said the case was under now appeal. A spokesperson for Giambrone confirmed he had appealed the sanctions handed down by the tribunal. SDT appeals are made to the Administrative Court.
In January last year Giambrone told The Lawyer that the SRA needed to put its own house in order and scrutinise how it regulates non-UK lawyers.
“Client account rules are a UK thing,” he said, adding that non-UK lawyers practising in the UK needed only to pass two tests in order to start practising in England and Wales.
“We admit we didn’t fully know the SRA rules, but they should take responsibility for how European lawyers are regulated in the UK,” Giambrone continued. “This involves the whole legal profession. If we were based in Italy doing the same thing there would not be regulatory matters” (30 January 2012).
Giambrone has also faced legal proceedings in Northern Ireland and the UK with claims brought by clients alleging they have lost money through investing in Italian property.