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Document deception sees trainee solicitor removed from profession

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Rookie says he’s learned from experience

A trainee solicitor who amended a legal document in order to mislead a third party has been told he can no longer work in the legal profession.

Thomas David Barnes, formerly of MJP Conveyancing in Norwich, has been handed a section 43 order, which prevents him from working in a law firm without prior permission from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Rookie solicitor Barnes was tasked with serving what is known as a ‘notice of assignment’ on a landlord — after it had been signed by the managing agent — as part of a property transaction, according to a regulatory settlement agreement published this week.

Barnes completed the notice, but was later informed by the landlord that it contained the wrong name for the new owner. But instead of redrafting the notice, Barnes “amended” the owner’s name on the receipted copy of the original notice and served it directly on the landlord.

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When the discrepancy was queried by the landlord, Barnes denied amending the original notice and claimed that it had been backdated by the managing agent. The firm investigated the matter and Barnes later accepted that he had amended the notice.

MJP Conveyancing issued the trainee with a formal and final written warning. No detriment was caused to either party to the transaction.

The SRA, however, has now said Barnes can no longer work within the profession without its permission. The agreement states that Barnes’ conduct makes it undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice because it was “dishonest and displayed a lack of integrity”.

Barnes, who in mitigation said he has learned from the experience and would not repeat it, was also ordered to pay £300 in costs.

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37 Comments

Dr Fran

Best of dishonest solicitors are actually in Parliament. Will the SRA remove them from the register, please?

Anonymous

If he was a barrister and the matter was before the BSB, £50 fine and he’d have to down his pint.

Disgusted

I am literally outraged that you presumed the barrister would be a man.

Common sense

But the person in the article ‘anonymous’ is referring to IS a man????

Outraged

How do you know that, huh?

Toxic masculinity at its worst.

Anon

Assume you’re trolling, but if not his name is in the article…

Outraged

How do you know that’s a man’s name? SEXIST

Richard Gray Barrister

Rubbish

That’s the sort of comment that drives a wedge between the professions.

I think the penalty was too harsh and I agree he should still be practising.

It’s the pressure upon lawyers that makes for this behaviour but I have no idea why Solicitors think the BSB are soft toothed -ignorance I suppose!

Hmm...

Have you ever heard the tale of Henry Hendron?

AW1983

Are you seriously suggesting that someone who doctors legal agreements has the integrity to continue working as a solicitor? I work in an industry where the FCA would ban me for life for so much as £5 of fare dodging on a train and there is a very good reason for that. We’ll handling client’s money, sometimes significant amounts and only people who are consistently honest can be trusted to do that.

Bifford Bantz

The SRA strikes again. Utter shambles

Chloe

This seems ridiculously harsh. The trainee in question probably didn’t think anything of it and just amended the name to save time

RS Trainee

FFS, Chloe!!!! ‘save time’ You CANNOT cut corners.

Anonymous

Never do work efficiently. That’s lost billables. How else are you going to make bonus thresholds in such a sweaty profession?

Although I think we can all admit that conveyancing factories tend be fixed-fee shet piles. Like they’d ever offer bonuses.

RS associate

Get back to work, rookie

Realist

>”When the discrepancy was queried by the landlord, Barnes denied amending the original notice and claimed that it had been backdated by the managing agent.”

He lied. It’s not his original decision to amend the paperwork which has been impugned, but his decision to lie. I’m going to be charitable and assume that you scan-read the story, and missed this. Otherwise, respectfully, you have no future in the profession.

Awenshok

Exactly. The trick is to do it right and not get caught.

Jo

Poor lad. Short of murder I don’t think any behaviour warrants being prevented from practicing.

Annonymous

What about paedophillia?

huh

What about rape?

Quentin

What about a lot of arson? Not a bit, but a lot

John

As someone who commits only a small amount of arson, I’m glad I can still be a solicitor.

Just asking

What about serial, violent, burglaries that took place over 20-30 year period, targeting orphanages, hospices and care homes, where in each case the perpetrator left a note saying he was glad he did it and only regretted not being able to steal more?

Margherita Pizza

What about marrying a morbidly obese woman?

Anon

like your dad did?

Anonymous

His dad was a buck-toothed Brexit-voting gammon. He took what he could.

Anon

What about being French?

Avocat avocat

Zut alaw

Pierre

L’avocat mange un avocat.

Jaded and despondent

We can say no all we like, it’ll still happen.

Lc

Murder is not an offence of dishonesty, so… 🤷‍♀️

..

What if you said you wouldn’t kill the victim?

Anon SB

This is what happens when students say they want to be lawyers because they watched ‘Suits’; this is exactly what Suits taught viewers, that lawyers can lie about documents, hide documents, forge documents etc to get what they want and there’s no consequences

SRA do nothing

I’ve seen much worse and when presented with the information, the SRA have done nothing.

AW1983

I used MJP Conveyancing to purchase my first property thinking it would save me money. The copious amounts of money burned on rent as the purchase dragged on for six months – mainly because of MJP’s incompetence – made a mockery of that belief!

Lilz

🎶Oh it’s not fair and I fink you’re really mean..:

I fink you’re really mean…

I fink you’re really mean…🎶

😭🎻

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