Former name partner of Burton Copeland found guilty by OSS of misleading client
Nigel Copeland, a founding partner of leading niche fraud firm Burton Copeland, has been struck off after misleading a client. Copeland, described by his former firm's partners as the "Mr Licensing of Manchester" because of his decades of experience in this field, has admitted to breaching practice rules, misleading a client and failing to reply to a letter from the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS). He claimed to his client, a club owner who was suing Manchester City Council for £11,000 for losses arising out of a compulsory purchase order it had made against him, that he was dealing with the case and was "pushing it as far as I can". However, a solicitors' disciplinary tribunal found that he had done nothing to resolve his client's case for six years. Copeland, who was described by the tribunal as "deceitful", claimed to his client by letters described as an "elaborate tissue of lies" that the council had made a settlement offer of £5,000 and that proceedings were going through the High Court. However, Stuart Turner acting for the OSS said: "Proceedings were never issued. [This offer] was never on the table in the first place." Copeland's former client later switched to a different lawyer and subsequently received £11,000 in damages from the council. The tribunal also found that Copeland failed to reply to two letters from the OSS after it had been notified of his misconduct. Copeland wrote in a letter to the tribunal that he could not deny the allegations, adding: "What I did was not right." Copeland, who retired in May, was fined £1,669 as well as being struck off. He was a lawyer for 46 years and was also fined by the tribunal in 1984 and 1985 for misleading clients and for delays in dealing with cases.