Jailed  Prominent Solicitor’s Hearing Before Disciplinary Tribunal Delayed Following Last Minute Application

Jailed Prominent Solicitor’s Hearing Before Disciplinary Tribunal Delayed Following Last Minute Application

By David Young-

The tribunal hearing of a prominent solicitor- Sophie Khan-  has been delayed by one day,  after she filed a last minute  application to adjourn the case, which the Solicitors Regulation Authority today described as a ‘tactic to derail’ the proceedings.

The high-profile solicitor, who was jailed for contempt of court in January, was due to appear before the Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) this morning after she was referred to the tribunal over 11 allegations, including accusations that she settled two clients’ claims for ‘substantially lower’ than she had advised they would receive.

Today the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal deliberated on her last minute application to delay the cases, and rejected her application. The case is due to start tomorrow at 10a.m.

Khan, who is representing herself, has been embroiled in a long-running row with the SRA, which intervened into her Leicester-based firm Sophie Khan & Co in 202.  The regulator has since taken Khan to the High Court on a few occasions, first in October to gain access to the firm’s files, and again in November when it obtained an injunction to prevent her from ‘unlawfully’ acting as a lawyer through a charity called Just for Public

Khan had frequently appeared on TV and radio  as a respected legal commentator before she was jailed  for six months after declining repeated requests  from the Solicitors Disciplinary Regulation, and two court orders to surrender her files for investigation..

Khan is also said to have settled two clients’ costs claims without informing them of the offer or its acceptance, paid a cheque in respect of the settlement of costs claims directly into her firm’s office account and ‘failed to cooperate with the SRA and/or the Legal Ombudsman’.

Today the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal deliberated on her last minute application to delay the cases, and rejected her application. The case is due to start tomorrow at 10a.m.

Khan, who is representing herself, has been embroiled in a long-running row with the SRA, which intervened into her Leicester-based firm Sophie Khan & Co in 202.  The regulator has since taken Khan to the High Court on a few occasions, first in October to gain access to the firm’s files, and again in November when it obtained an injunction to prevent her from ‘unlawfully’ acting as a lawyer through a charity called Just for Public.

Khan has previously appealed against her custodial sentence and challenged the SRA’s intervention, which the High Court held was ‘necessary and proportionate for the protection of clients’. Shortly after she was released, the SRA announced it was referring Khan to the SDT over the 11 allegations and an eight-day hearing before the tribunal was due to begin today.

The now disgraced solicitor filed an application to adjourn the case at ‘quarter to midnight’ on Sunday,  asking for a hearing to be held next week to determine her application to strike out the case against her.

Rupert Allen, for the SRA, said Khan has ‘deliberately chosen not to engage with these proceedings until the very last minute’, which he suggested ‘smacks of a tactic to derail’ the hearing.

‘Some of the allegations relate to Ms Khan’s failure to cooperate with the intervention,’ Allen told the tribunal, arguing that her ‘failure is ongoing and it is hindering the SRA’s efforts to give effect to the intervention’.

He also said that Khan is ‘continuing to represent clients despite the suspension of her practising certificate’ through Just for Public, though he added that Khan contends she has put procedures in place to ensure she is not carrying out any reserved activities.

‘But the fact remains: she is engaging in client work as matters stand in relation to people who have been transferred across to [Just for Public].

The latest allegations that Khan continues to represent clients is likely to feature in the hearing.

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