Regulator dishes out £13,836 fine to drink-driving solicitor

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

11

New approach of linking sanction to salary


The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has imposed a hefty fine of almost £14,000 on a solicitor convicted of drink-driving.

The sizeable financial penalty comes after the regulator tweaked its approach to punishing solicitors for certain types of misconduct. One notable change is the ability to link fines with solicitors’ salaries.

The SRA’s decision notice states that Richard Lunn, a director of Grimsby outfit Haywood Lunn & Allen, pleaded guilty to driving a car while under the influence of alcohol in November 2022.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The solicitor was fined £437 and disqualified from driving for 19 months, reduced by 19 weeks following successful competition of a driving rehabilitation course.

Lunn promptly notified the SRA of his arrest and subsequent conviction.

The regulator has now dished its own punishment, fining Lunn a hefty £13,836 — a record sanction for drink driving. Prior to the changes, fines for this type of offence would normally sit at around £2,000 mark.

The SRA initially imposed a fine of £17,295, however this was reduced on account of Lunn’s genuine remorse, early guilty plea and full cooperation with the regulator’s investigation.

Lunn also agreed to pay £1,350 costs.

11 Comments

realist

Insane that the SRA can effectively levy whatever punishment they fancy on solicitors, even when the offence has no relevancy to legal practice.

Do not mistake this as me dismissing the gravity of drink-driving, but christ.

Michael Beck

The SRA really are a law unto themselves!

Jonas

Drink driving is indicative of careless/reckless character that has relevance to legal practice, doesn’t it? In the same way that a dishonesty offence is meant to be indicative of dishonest character.

Seems mad to me that a google search resulted in 4 weeks in prison and an 8 year suspension from the SRA, whilst putting the public’s lives in danger results in a fine and a temporary loss of a driving licence.

Archibald O'Pomposity

“Insane that the SRA can effectively levy whatever punishment they fancy on solicitors, even when the offence has no relevancy to legal practice”

So you think drink driving is not relevant to legal practice? Would you like clients to realise, after finding and then briefing a solicitor, that they are being advised by a drunk who gets into a two-tonne metal cage and drives it at all and sundry? Do you not think in any event that solicitors, who practise and administer law, and represent their profession, should act in compliance with legislation and in a way that does not stick two fingers up at all the victims of drink driving? NO, YOU DIDN’T THINK AT ALL, did you.

Cowboy

The Bar Standards Board’s approach is pretty much the same . If you put your hands up straight away to your Disciplinary Body , you’ll probably end up being fined twice the Court’s penalty plus costs . Cannot complain as serious error of judgement which can potentially ruin your own and others’ lives . Take it on the chin and move on (bus or train ideally .)

Seadog

May I introduce the SRA Board to you?

Defund the SRA

The SRA are an absolute joke, they’re really trying to scrape the barrel to top up the compensation fund after the Axiom fiasco that the SRA are complicit in

Nick the Wig

I agree with the sentiment that SRA should only be fining for professional fouls….if the solicitor was driving to see a client, or when stopped tried to wriggle out of it by saying he was a solicitor or had seen a client when intoxicated and then driven back….or if this was a dishonesty offence, then OK, but what’s next? A salary based fine for parking on a yellow line?

Archibald O'Pomposity

See my response to realist, Nick. A terrible thing for you to say. Are you in the legal profession? I fail to see how a lawyer could trivialise a crime as heinous as drink driving. Solicitors are expected more so than Joe Public to follow the law and set an example to those citizens who do not. This WAS a professional foul. Make no mistake.

Kirkland NQ

If the SRA ever give me a fine linked to my salary, they will be able to coat their headquarters in gold with the proceeds.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Fool’s gold.

Join the conversation