Neumans v Law Society  EWCA Civ 325
On 2nd March 2018 the Court of Appeal delivered judgment in Neumans v Law Society, dismissing Neumans’ appeal and clarifying the law on the process to be adopted by the SRA when intervening into a solicitor’s practice. Described by Lord Justice Patten as “a most unusual case” the Court of Appeal confirmed that under the now heavily amended Solicitors’ Act 1974 its previous decision in Giles v Law Society remained good law and that the requirements of procedural fairness did not apply to pre-intervention contact between the SRA and the intervened firm, but that the requirements of natural justice were satisfied by the full merits statutory right of appeal open to a firm after intervention.
The decision is important in leaving to the SRA a wide discretion on whether to and if so to what extent it may consult with a solicitor or firm before deciding to intervene. It emphasises the importance of the statutory powers on the part of the SRA to act quickly and often without notice in cases of suspected dishonesty.
James Ramsden QC, instructed by Capsticks, represented the Law Society of England & Wales. Fenella Morris QC and Alexis Hearnden, instructed by Radcliffe Le Brasseur, represented Neumans.