The Solicitors Regulation Authority has barred two more paralegals from the profession for misconduct in the space of a few days.
The Gazette has already reported how former DAC Beachcroft paralegal Talwinder Jason Purewal was removed through a section 43 order after he provided a misleading response to a query about an amended statement. The decision was taken last month.
The regulator stated it has this month taken the same action against former Slater and Gordon paralegal Angela Drinkwater, who was employed in the national firm’s personal injury department.
She had settled a client’s personal injury claim without the client’s knowledge. She then paid this client’s settlement monies to two other clients who were not associated with the case.
The firm reported Drinkwater to the SRA and police when her actions were discovered, and she was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court in 2018 of fraud by abuse of position. She was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended by 24 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitative activity.
Drinkwater is now prevented from working in the legal profession without SRA permission. She must also pay the regulator’s £300 investigation costs.
The other new case concerned Carl Brewster, formerly a paralegal in the dispute resolution department of Surrey firm Barlow Robbins Solicitors for 30 months until 2019.
Brewster was instructed by clients to start debt recovery proceedings on their behalf, but on six matters he told the respective clients he had issued proceedings when he had not.
On three of the matters he told clients he had sent letters to the defendants when this was not true, and on another occasion he claimed to have applied for judgment in default when proceedings were not even issued. He also misled his supervisor how one matter had resolved.
In late 2019 the firm reviewed Brewster’s file and expressed concerns about his conduct. He subsequently resigned and the firm referred him to the SRA. He admitted his conduct had been dishonest and agreed to pay £300 costs.