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Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal

13 November 17

Report relating to Michael Thomas McSherry

Michael Thomas McSherry

A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Michael Thomas McSherry, solicitor, Glasgow. The Tribunal found the respondent guilty of professional misconduct singly in respect of his misrepresentation to Mr D about the purpose for which funds were held, the improper, incomplete and inaccurate recording in the client ledgers, and his misrepresentations to estate agents and a firm of solicitors; and in cumulo in respect of his failure to carry out proper money laundering checks on company 1 and Mr C, his failure to investigate the source of funds from Mr D, his poor record keeping and accounting practices, his failure to reconcile bank statements and his failure to undertake training in connection with his role as cashroom manager.

The Tribunal ordered that the name of the respondent be struck off the Roll of Solicitors in Scotland.

The respondent’s conduct was at the higher end of the scale of misconduct. The respondent’s misrepresentations regarding funding met the objective and subjective tests of dishonesty. The respondent was aware of the purpose for which Mr D’s money was to be held but did not comply with his client’s written instructions. He knew that he did not hold £2,050,000 in his client account when he made that claim to the estate agent and the solicitor. He made no attempt to clarify the situation with those parties when it became clear that he was not going to receive that money. The Tribunal accepted that there was no evidence that the respondent had received any personal financial gain from his conduct. However, the misrepresentations were dishonest and could have had very serious consequences. It was imperative that if the public were to have confidence in the legal profession, solicitors maintained the standards of conduct expected of competent and reputable solicitors. When considering sanction, the Tribunal had regard to its previous finding of misconduct against the respondent for analogous matters on 21 January 2016. Further aggravating factors were the lack of remorse and insight displayed by the respondent and his failure to engage adequately with the Tribunal process. If the respondent continued to practise he would be a significant risk to the public. Therefore, the Tribunal ordered that the respondent’s name be struck off the Roll of Solicitors in Scotland.

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