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Iqbal v Solicitors Regulation Authority & Ors (QB) - 6/11/12


A complaint was made against a law firm which the SRA investigated. The investigator discovered that the sole principal solicitor supervised the firm remotely from Pakistan due to immigration difficulties. The investigator spoke to the principal and indicated that a certificate of compliance would have been issued. The investigator produced a report identifying some minor breaches under the Solicitors Accounting Rules and raised concerns about the remote supervision of the firm. A caseworker sought the principal's comments on the report and referred the matter to an adjudicator who found a breach relating to the principal's remote supervision of the practice, but not the accounting rules. The principal had difficulty obtaining insurance and appealed the adjudicator's decision. Judicial review proceedings were commenced and then disposed of by consent with the matter remitted to a reconstituted panel. The principal's appeal was granted. The principal then brought proceedings claiming misfeasance in public office against the SRA and others relying on the decision not to issue a certificate of compliance, the one month delay before the caseworker sent him the report and the referral to adjudication given the triviality of the alleged breaches. He also claimed a breach of his rights under the ECHR. The application by the SRA and others for summary judgment was granted. There was no basis for inferring the knowledge or intention for the claim in misfeasance in public office. While the principal's interest in his firm was a possession for the purposes of art. 1 protocol 1, however his loss did not constitute deprivation and his pleaded facts did not raise an arguable case of unreasonable or disproportionate exercise of regulatory powers.


  • High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
  • Monday, 17 December 2012