Peter Cadman, head of Russell-Cooke's regulation team was instructed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to bring proceedings at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal against Mr Iqbal for various breaches of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct. Mr Iqbal was struck off the Roll and a costs order was made against him.
Mr Iqbal appealed the decision of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, to the Administrative Court of the High Court of Justice, on the grounds that the tribunal had made comments in their written findings that could have suggested dishonesty where no such charges were proved against him.
Russell-Cooke's regulation team instructed Geoffrey Williams QC and appeared as Respondents to the appeal. After a full hearing of the facts the President of the Queen's Bench Division, Sir John Thomas, and Mr Justice Silver gave a full ruling in which they held that there did not have to be actual findings of dishonesty for a solicitor to be considered a danger to the public so that he would be struck off the Roll. They quoted:
"It seems to me that Trustworthiness also extends to those standards which the public are entitled to expect of a solicitor, including competence. If a solicitor exhibits manifest incompetence, as, in my judgment, the Appellant did, then it is impossible to see how the public can have confidence in a person who has exhibited such incompetence. It is difficult to see how a profession such as the medical profession would countenance retaining as a doctor someone who had showed himself to be incompetent. It seems to me that the same must be true of the solicitors' profession. If in a course of conduct a person manifests incompetence as, in my judgment, the Appellant did, then he is not fit to be a solicitor. The only appropriate remedy is to remove him from the Roll. It must be recalled that being a solicitor is not a right, but a privilege. The public is entitled not only to solicitors who behave with honesty and integrity, but solicitors in whom they can impose trust by reason of competence."
Russell-Cooke's regulation team is instructed by both the SRA and by individual defendants. Click on the respective link for further information on our regulatory services or to read the appeal ruling.