Unlimited excess?

Solicitor puts Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s powers under the spotlight in CoA

Whether the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has the power to impose unlimited fines will be decided by the Court of Appeal (CoA) next month, when solicitor Anthony Dennison challenges the SDT’s bid to strike him off because of his involvement in The Accident Group (TAG) scandal.

Dennison, who is currently joint managing partner at Manchester firm Dennison Greer, was formerly a partner with Rowe Cohen, which had vetted claims for TAG.

In November 2009 Dennison was fined £23,500 by the SDT for dishonestly concealing his part-ownership of Legal Report Services (LRS), a company that supplied medical reports for Rowe Cohen clients under the TAG scheme – a deal he arranged.

The SRA instructed Fountain Court silk Michael McLaren QC to challenge the tribunal at the High Court, arguing that the severity of the offence had brought the profession into disrepute. The only suitable reprimand, it stated, was for the solicitor to be struck off.

Pinsent Masons associate Hayley Goldstone instructed 4 New Square’s Simon Monty QC to defend the claim for Dennison.

Ruling, the High Court said that the tribunal was right to consider this a “very serious” matter and, having brought the profession into disrepute, Dennison should indeed be struck off.

Dennison, whose counsel will argue that the case was exceptional in its circumstances, will thrust the SDT into the limelight when he challenges the SRA in the CoA in front of Lord Justices Kay and Hooper.