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Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal

14 July 14

Report relating to James Gerard Brophy

James Gerard Brophy

A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against James Gerard Brophy, Brophy & Co, Falkirk. The Tribunal found the respondent guilty of professional misconduct in that between 2 June 2009 and 22 August 2012 he failed to act in the best interests of a client who had instructed him in relation to a potential medical negligence claim, failed to communicate effectively or at all with that client regarding her claim, and failed repeatedly to return her calls, during which period the negligence claim became time barred.

The Tribunal censured the respondent, fined him in the sum of £5,000 and awarded compensation of £2,000 in favour of the client.

The Tribunal was concerned to note that the respondent’s failures had continued for a period of just over three years. It accepted that the respondent had accepted his guilt from the commencement of the proceedings and had co-operated with the Society, had shown insight into his failures, and had put systems in place to protect the public in future. As a result, the Tribunal considered that there was no ongoing risk to the public and no requirement for supervision. However, the Tribunal had to take into account a previous finding of misconduct from 2011 which disclosed a previous failure to communicate with other solicitors. The Tribunal was concerned that the present proceedings disclosed a further communication failure which on this occasion had resulted in loss to a client. The Tribunal considered that a substantial fine was appropriate in order to emphasise the seriousness with which it viewed the respondent’s conduct. The respondent accepted that compensation was due to his client.

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