Definition of ‘dishonesty’ in regulatory matters
In a recent decision in the Court of Appeal, an important clarification was provided in relation to the test to be met in respect of misconduct in regulatory matters.
This case involved a solicitor, Kathleen Doocey, who had been involved in significant breaches of the Law Society Solicitors Accounts Regulations and had allowed a substantial deficit to be accumulated in her client account.
An application was made to the President of the High Court and a decision made to strike her off the Roll of Solicitors. She appealed this decision and one of her grounds of appeal was that in the application made by the Law Society to have her struck off no finding of dishonesty had been made.
She admitted to misconduct but argued that the court had to make a finding of dishonesty in order to strike her off.
The Court of Appeal considered this argument but did not agree but in its decision pointed out that the test in relation to dishonesty was the test of the ordinary and reasonable person i.e. it was not required for the solicitor to know or fully appreciate that the conduct was dishonest but the satisfying of an objective test was sufficient. The Court did say that there needed to be some subjective intention of wrongdoing on the part of offending professional.
This is an important decision and should have a bearing on other regulatory bodies in making disciplinary decisions in relation to offending professionals.
For any regulatory matters please do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon on 012960666.