Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 28/01/97

John Haydn Hughes, 47, admitted 1978, practising at material times as an assistant solicitor with Berwyn Davies & Co, Aberdare, struck off and ordered to pay £1,070 costs. Allegations substantiated that, acting as a solicitor, he gave undertaking he was not entitled to give, drew cheques on his firm's office account without authority, fraudulently completed withdrawal notice in respect of a building society account with intent to obtain controlled trust funds for his own purpose, failed to pay client money into client account, used client money for his own purposes. Hughes was previously before the tribunal in March 1994 and May 1987. The tribunal said it was dismayed to learn of the two earlier appearances. At one hearing the tribunal had taken the view that Hughes was fundamentally an honest and trustworthy person who through youth and inexperience had embarked on a foolish rather than dishonourable course of action. This tribunal considered he had behaved in a "dishonest and disgraceful fashion".

Michael Anthony White, 47, admitted 1974, and Michael Allan Atkin, 67, admitted 1955, practising in partnership at material time as MM Rossfield & Co, York, severely reprimanded and struck off respectively. Also ordered to pay costs of £740 and £1,080 respectively. Allegations substantiated White failed to deal properly with correspondence from the Solicitors Complaints Bureau and Atkin failed to account properly to predecessor solicitors for costs due to them and received by him from the Legal Aid Fund, failed to comply with decision of the Conduct Committee, failed to honour terms of professional undertaking, failed to comply with court order, was guilty of unreasonable delay in delivery of clients' papers, failed to reply to letters from the Law Society and the Solicitors Complaints Bureau. Atkin was previously before the tribunal in 1991 when he was fined £1,000 for failure to reply to letters from the SCB and practising without current practising certificate. The tribunal said Atkin's behaviour was unacceptable. White had apologised but the tribunal took the view that he was not a solicitor who should be permitted by the Law Society to practice on his own account.

Philip Lee Vaughton, admitted 1975, partner in Howes Percival, Northampton, at material time, fined £5,000. Allegations substantiated that he assisted in obtaining mortgage advances by deception. Tribunal said Vaughton had been extremely neglectful, had shown gross dereliction of duty and gross neglect when a fraud was clearly taking place. It was not, however, satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he had been a party to the scheme at the heart of the complaint or that he had been aware of the fraud that had taken place.