News

£1,500 fine for criminal solicitor who made ‘inappropriate’ social media posts about client cases

By on
24

Some disclosed ‘confidential information’

A criminal solicitor who posted “inappropriate and puerile” comments on social media about his clients’ cases has been fined by the regulator.

Harmal Singh Paul, a sole practitioner of Paul & Co Solicitors in Dudley, West Midlands, made over 130 posts on social media between November 2015 and September 2016 when he attended a police station, prison or court, often stating where he was and the criminal charge he was there to advise on.

Twenty-one of these posts included “inappropriate comments or emoji icons”, according to a regulatory settlement agreement published last week by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). It provided the four following examples:

“‘From Attempted Murder at Smethwick’ followed by two emoji icons to depict crying with laughter”.

“DV [Domestic Violence]…Christmas Coming Up…What you Expect”.

“‘Drugs’. When another person commented ‘What kind? Lol x’, Mr Paul responded ‘Not From the Pharmacy That’s For Sure pmsl’ followed by various emoji icons depicting crying with laughter”.

“‘Sexual Assault’ followed by two emoji icons with a sad face and a tear”.

In two social media posts during the same period, the regulator said Paul had “disclosed specific, confidential information about a client matter”.

Paul, who qualified in 2006, admitted that by posting the “inappropriate and puerile comments”, some of which “trivialised serious criminal charges”, he had failed to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in him and in the provision of legal services.

In mitigation, the solicitor said he had cooperated with the SRA’s investigation and deleted all of the relevant social media posts.

He was rebuked, fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £600 in costs.

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

24 Comments

Dr Fran

I instructed Paul (sad emoji)

Anonymous

Pathetic waste of the SRA resources.

Anonymous

Top solicitor.

Anonymous

“‘Yet another Legal Cheek article about retention rates’ followed by two emoji icons with a facepalm”.

Anonymous

He can always join the police.

Anonn

This is no worse than what many barristers post on Twitter. Often multiple times a day.

They both equate ‘Likes’ and pixels on the screen with happiness, safety and acceptance. Tragic.

Anonymous

The difference is barristers are likely to be posting about matters that have been heard in open court.

Anonn

Really?

Cringeworthy public tweets I’ve read from a QC included jokingly wondering how to kill a 10 year old boy who took an interest in his daughter, seeking sympathy from Twitter when said daughter was bullied online whilst the iPad became used a as babysitter, waxing lyrical on the ‘wonders of diversity’ when they saw Polish pickles in the supermarket and wishing a happy anniversary to their wife whilst also stating that she ‘could do better’ than him.

Yes. Yes she could.

Anonymous

Don’t see anything wrong with any of those comments? Perfectly compatible with the right to free speech.

Anonymous

Same with whatever Sham Uddin types I suppose?

Anonymous

Fuken snowflakes… let the man work, jesus…

Anonymous

What a joke, SRA you humourless c*nts.

Anonymous

Think it was posting stuff which disclosed client’s identities that was the problem. The better written original article from the Law Society Gazette last week, which Legal Cheek C & Ped from makes it clear that was the SRA’s main problem with it. 150 odd of his posts were ok. The action was take in relation to about 20 of them.

Anonymous

I have a TC offer from Skadden and an offer from Paul & Co Solicitors. Which one should I go for?

Anonymous

Cliff. Edge.

Anonymous

Paul. Weiss.

Terry

Train at Paul and Co. You can always move to the US firm post qualification.

Anonymous

Top bantz. 10/10.

Anonymous

Why the Sham posts gone?

Anonymous

When a White QC types up his internal stream of consciousness on Twitter, he’s merely exercising ‘free speech’.

When an Asian barrister does the same, he’s labelled ‘moronic’ and an ‘embarrassment’ by the wider profession.

Deed U No

…and they get the jobs….!

Join the conversation

Related Stories