Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 27/09/94

DAVID JOHN SHIRLEY, 56, admitted 1963, practised as Dubow Shirley and Smith, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, struck off and ordered to pay u1,125 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to maintain books correctly, wrongly drew and used for his own purposes client money, gave false and misleading information to clients. Tribunal told that as result of his activities the Law Society Compensation Fund is facing total claims of u65,912. Respondent told tribunal his difficulties were caused after bankers reduced his permitted level of overdraft. He had injected his own money into practice in 1992 and had attempted to "trade out" of situation but was later adjudicated bankrupt. Tribunal said that, while recognising economic recession had brought great financial pressure on respondent, it would not tolerate improper use of clients' money or misleading of clients. Respondent's conduct had been such as to destroy confidence that the public needed to have in the profession, according to the tribunal.

STEPHEN MICHAEL OAKLEY, 34, admitted 1985, practised as Oakley and Co, Cardiff, suspended for three months and ordered to pay u4,577 costs. Allegations substantiated that among other things he failed with reasonable expedition to respond to correspondence from Solicitors' Complaints Bureau, clients and/or other solicitors, failed with reasonable expedition to honour terms of undertakings given as solicitor, delayed execution of clients' affairs, delayed in discharge of counsel's fees, practised in breach of condition imposed on him by Solicitors Complaints Bureau, practised uncertificated, and unreasonably delayed conveyancing transaction. Oakley previously before tribunal in April 1990 when he was fined u2,500. Tribunal commented that it was clear he had suffered from serious depressive illness. This illness had the effect of preventing him from functioning properly.

DAVID SIMON GABRIEL SASSON, 35, admitted 1985, an assistant solicitor with Livingstone and Co, Salford, at material time struck off and ordered to pay u560 costs. Allegations substantiated he had been jailed for two months after admitting theft. Tribunal told Sasson jailed at Manchester Crown Court on 18 June last year after admitting endorsing a cheque for u8,200 received by Livingstones and paying it into his own bank account. Respondent told tribunal he had acted in "moment of madness" and recognised he had committed "professional suicide". Tribunal said case was a "sad" one. It accepted that Sasson was under considerable strain but that did not excuse his dishonesty.