QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE MITTING
|FAWZIA AMTUL-HABIB SHUTTARI||(CLAIMANT)|
|THE LAW SOCIETY||(DEFENDANT)|
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Mr Timothy Dutton QC (instructed by Messrs Shuttari-Paul and Co) appeared on behalf of the Claimant
Mr Geoffrey Williams QC (instructed by Messrs Drysdales Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the Defendant
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"This was one of the most serious cases of its kind to come before the Tribunal: it was apparent that [the appellant] had learned little or nothing from the earlier appearance before the Tribunal."
"The Tribunal had heard that the Respondent had been in partnership with Mr Y [Mr Yaqoob] since 2002. It has been told that since then the practice management had improved. No evidence had been produced to support this or as to what new procedures have been put in place."
It then went on to give the example about her lack of recent training in conveyancing. In fact, in amongst the voluminous documents in this case, there was clear and unchallenged evidence from Mr Yaqoob (int he form of a letter from him) about the new procedures put in place in her practice. The evidence was amplified, after the hearing, in a detailed witness statement, dated 16th December 2005. He set out what they were: that he had joined the practice with a first priority to introduce changes into the system which would reduce the workload, improve the profitability of the firm and protect the appellant and the firm from unscrupulous clients and also to instill in her an understanding that the practice had to be run as a commercial enterprise. He set out in detail how the workload would be shared, how assessment procedures were in place to ensure that she did not take on too much work. He noted, as I have already observed and as was explicitly very made clear to the Tribunal in submissions by Mr Dutton QC, that the practice had gained the ISO 9000 certificate and was an accredited CPD course provider. The testimonials from clients and colleagues demonstrated that radical improvements in the conduct of this practice were bearing fruit. On the material which it had before it, it is difficult to understand the Tribunal's statement that:
"No evidence had been produced to support this or as to what new procedures have been put in place."
On the additional material which we have, that conclusion is clearly wrong. The issue is of importance because the reason given by the Tribunal for deciding upon the sanction that it did was twofold: first, "for the protection of the public"; secondly for "the good reputation of the solicitors' profession".