In brief: Tribunal rules on fraud case lawyers

Four solicitors admitted bringing the profession into disrepute at a disciplinary tribunal hearing last week. A total of £8 million was plundered from clients' accounts at Hastings firm Durnford Ford, which collapsed in 1992. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that the fraud was masterminded by former senior partner Graham Ford and that three senior equity partners had simply “rubber-stamped” the decisions. Ford was given a 10-year sentence for fraud in December last year. Junior equity partner William Bew was given a suspended sentence for furnishing false information. Bew, 38, of Winstone, Gloucestershire, was struck off the solicitors' roll. The three other partners – Roy Kershaw, 47, of Howden-le-Wear, Co Durham, David Gunson, 51, of Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, and William Elliot, 44, of Dorchester, Dorset – were each fined £5,000 and ordered to pay substantial costs.