A senior partner and solicitor of the claimant personal injury firm, Isaac Abrahams, have been struck off for dishonestly bungling 37 NIHL claims and misleading the court.[i] The pair involved were Safina Bibi Shah (senior partner) and Shamila Hanif (solicitor). We last reported on Isaac Abrahams in edition 153 (here), when the SRA intervened and suspended Ms Shah.
Before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) hearing, it was revealed that, in 2015, the firm had 65 of its cases transferred to Bolton County Court. The cases were transferred to DJ Swindley because a number of ‘procedural issues’ were present. Suspiciously, all of the cases had applications for ‘time extensions for service of the claim, medical evidence and schedules of damages’. Ms Shah had denied all allegations made. Whereas Ms Hanif admitted to all of the allegations made against her, including misleading the court, client and opposition lawyer.
DJ Swindley struck out numerous claims and ‘strongly criticised’ the firm. The judge said that it was ‘clear that the fee-earners were not being supervised and monitored’ and its practice was ‘entirely unacceptable’. In 35 cases, DJ Swindley found that claims were issued, even though medical evidence had not been obtained. He also criticised the firm’s way of conducting files as ‘generally lamentable’ and stated that there had been ‘no effective management’ of cases.
Allegations of dishonesty were made against Ms Shah and were heard at the SDT.[ii]
She was also found to have failed to uphold the Rule of Law and proper administration of justice in each case, lacking integrity. After having had 37 NIHL claims struck out, it was found she had failed to provide a ‘standard of service’ or ‘act in the best interests of clients’.
After the SDT found both Shah and Hanif to have acted dishonestly, both were struck off the register and ordered to pay £75,000 in costs collectively.
[i] Nick Hilborne, ‘Senior partner who bungled hearing loss claims and lied to the court is struck off’ (25 April 2018 Litigation Futures) <https://www.litigationfutures.com/news/senior-partner-who-bungled-hearing-loss-claims-and-lied-to-the-court-is-struck-off> accessed 25 April 2018.