Stewarts Law settles legal battle but fate of lawyer duo hangs in the balance

Investment banker Geoffrey Logue has settled his legal battle against Stewarts Law, in a case that resulted in two of its solicitors being struck off following a private prosecution last year.

Partner Andrew Shaw and associate Craig Turnbull are both waiting to hear whether they have to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) for a retrial after they successfully challenged its decision to strike them off the solicitors roll last February (19 February 2013).

In a highly unusual move the ruling against Shaw and Turnbull came after Logue brought private prosecution proceedings against them through the SDT. They challenged the SDT in the High Court, a move that resulted in Mr Justice Jay recommended that the Tribunal be reconvened so it could reconsider the verdict (12 December 2013).

The strike off has been stayed pending the outcome of the retrial, which the SDT may not yet decide to consider.

In his ruling Jay J stated: “The SDT has done nothing to demonstrate that it fully understood the issues, which were of some complexity, or the nature of the appellants’ defence to these charges of misconduct.”

There were six grounds of appeal concerning nine allegations by Logue, of which just two were upheld by the High Court.

The judge held: “This case is serious enough, and the evidence potentially strong enough, to justify a rehearing by the SDT in the public interest.”

The pair could face the SDT even though Logue is no longer pursuing the case against them and has settled his separate claims against Stewarts Law. 

The Tribunal will now need to re-assess the sanction for the upheld allegations and will re-try the lawyers for the other counts, which could still lead to a strike-off.

A statement from Logue around the 2010 proceedings read: “In relation to the injunction proceedings initiated against Mr Logue by Stewarts Law in April 2010, Mr Logue and Stewarts Law have reached an amicable, confidential settlement which brings to an end all issues between Mr Logue and the firm.  Mr Logue has no further complaints against Stewarts Law.”

Shaw and Turnbull turned to Fountain Court’s Timothy Dutton QC, instructed by Mayer Brown partner William Glassey (15 January 2014).

Logue was represented by Wilberforce Chambers’ John Wardell QC, instructed by RadcliffesLeBrasseur partner Nigel West.