In this article, we provide an update on the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing, involving the former chief of Asons, Kamran Akram. Last week, in edition 226 (here), we outlined the trial matters to be discussed, including six allegations of suspected misconduct at his former Firm.
Asons Solicitors was intervened in March 2017 and shut down in June 2017.
Last week, at the hearing, Mr Akram denied ‘that he lacked integrity, or acted dishonestly or recklessly’.[i] However, the SDT also heard that he, ‘at the very least lacked integrity by allowing his firm to become embroiled in fraud’, [ii] even if he was unaware. Counsel for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) argued that the ‘fraudulent activity’, carried out by Asons, could be considered ‘reckless’ on behalf of Mr Akram.
In respect of allegations relating to billing, Mr Akram submitted that he did not exercise control over the drafting of costs and alleged that his signature was used without his knowledge on ‘some costs bills’. Mr Akram’s services were also charged for on cases which he had not worked on. He claimed that charges should have been ‘attributed to other grade-A fee earners’.
Counsel for Mr Akram further argued that there was no case to answer, on the charge that Mr Akram was ‘a proxy for his brother Imran’, a non-solicitor. This charge was later dropped.[iii]
We will report on the decision of the tribunal, which is expected to be handed down in May, in due course.
[i] Max Walters, ‘Asons chief would never have allowed suspicious activity, tribunal hears’ (11 April 2018 Law Gazette) https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/asons-chief-would-never-have-allowed-suspicious-activity-tribunal-hears/5065612.article accessed 16 April 2018
[ii] Max Walters, ‘SRA: Asons chief ‘lacked integrity’ (16 April 2018 Law Gazette) https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/sra-asons-chief-lacked-integrity/5065684.article accessed 17 April 2018