SRA’s go-to law firm won’t be punished over handling of missing briefcase incident

Avatar photo

By Legal Cheek on

Junior lawyer Claire Louise Matthews struck off earlier this month

The regulator’s go-to law firm for disciplinary matters will not be penalised for its handling of an incident that led to a junior solicitor being struck off the roll.

Claire Louise Matthews, a former junior associate in Capsticks’ clinical negligence team, was hauled before a disciplinary tribunal after she left a briefcase containing sensitive client files on a train, and then lied about it to colleagues for 24 hours.

Legal Cheek reported earlier this month that Matthews had been struck off following a four-day hearing and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs, despite now working at a call centre earning just £9 an hour.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

But the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) noted that although Capsticks had promptly reported the documents had gone awol in accordance with the regulator’s rules, neither the firm nor Matthews had voluntarily notified the SRA of the facts and circumstances giving rise to the misconduct.

The ruling reveals the investigation was instigated when a person named in the missing documents made a complaint to the SRA.

On this, a spokesperson for the SRA said:

“There was a delay in Capsticks providing us with the information we needed to investigate a potential misconduct issue. We investigated this issue and wrote to Capsticks to remind the firm of its obligations to promptly report possible misconduct.”

National outfit Capsticks has worked with the SRA since 2009, according to its website, and is the regulator’s sole legal provider for disciplinary and litigation work. Capsticks declined to comment.

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

Related Stories

Newly qualified solicitor struck off over lost work briefcase

Junior lawyer's fate was sealed when she lied to colleagues about the incident

Apr 6 2020 2:26pm

Junior solicitor removed from profession after backdating legal aid paperwork

He was just a few months qualified at the time

Feb 12 2020 9:03am

Document deception sees trainee solicitor removed from profession

Rookie says he's learned from experience

Sep 19 2019 10:37am