Tribunal finds that proceedings against Allen & Overy’s Mark Mansell represented a ‘significant risk to life’
Regulators have halted a case against an Allen & Overy partner that was based on his role in drawing up a controversial non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for Harvey Weinstein.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said today that the case against Mark Mansell had been stayed because of serious health concerns.
Mansell had been due to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in June 2019, but the date was pushed back. It now appears that it will never take place.
The SRA’s statement says:
“Medical experts instructed by both parties — who gave detailed evidence — substantially agreed that the continuation of the proceedings, and in particular a trial, represented a significant risk to Mr Mansell’s life. In the circumstances the SDT concluded that a fair trial was not possible.”
The SRA had argued that Mansell should not be able to escape an investigation on health grounds while continuing to work. Its QC told the tribunal, “a solicitor accused of serious misconduct could not be immune from answering those allegations before the Tribunal whilst continuing to practice as a solicitor”.
But the tribunal found that although that outcome might be “unsatisfactory”, that “did not mean that the continuation of the proceedings notwithstanding the Respondent’s medical condition was a fair outcome”. It said that “the agreed medical evidence was clear; the Respondent was unfit [REDACTED] to undergo the rigours of a hearing” or to participate in proceedings “in any form”.
Mansell’s representatives released a statement describing him as a “highly respected solicitor with an unblemished thirty year professional career”. They added that the “misconceived” proceedings related to matters that took place more than 20 years ago and that “it is not disputed that our client did not propose the now-controversial wording”.
The SRA said that it has now withdrawn its challenge to the tribunal’s decision to halt the case.
In 2018, the regulator issued a warning to solicitors not to use NDAs to prevent alleged victims of sexual assault or harassment from speaking out.
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