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Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal

12 November 18

Report relating to Ian James McDougall

 

Ian James McDougall

A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Ian James McDougall, formerly a sole practitioner carrying on business under the name of McDougall & Co, 66 Ashgrove Road West, Aberdeen. The Tribunal found the respondent guilty of professional misconduct, singly in respect that (a) he effected multiple transfers of funds between clients of his firm without obtaining, or retaining, written authority of the clients whose funds were being transferred, (b) he took for or to account of fees multiple sums held on the firm’s client account without rendering fee notes to the clients from whom the fees were taken, (c) he failed to record or retain sufficient narrative or documentation required to comply with his duty to keep properly written up such accounting records as necessary to show all of the firm’s dealings with clients’ money and money dealt with by the firm through its clients’ account; and guilty of professional misconduct in cumulo in respect that (a) he posted receipts to the firm’s client account and claimed fees before those sums were actually credited to the client bank account, causing deficits to occur on the client account, (b) he failed or delayed unduly to pay into the firm’s client account multiple sums in excess of £50 received from or on behalf of clients, (c) he posted onto the client ledgers multiple sums received from or on behalf of clients before the sums had been paid into the client account, causing the ledgers to misrepresent the actual position of the client account, (d) he failed to record or retain sufficient narrative for documentation to demonstrate compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations, (e) he failed or at least delayed unduly in dispersing multiple client balances held by the firm after there was no reason for them to be retained, (f) he failed in multiple instances to carry out risk assessments for transactions in which his firm was acting, to undertake sufficient client due diligence to establish the identity of the firm’s clients or retain records having done so, which would comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, and (g) he continued to fail to address the aforementioned breaches and thereby displayed a course of conduct amounting to deliberate acts in breach of rule B1.2.

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

The respondent’s conduct was extremely serious. Bad practice and breaches of the rules were identified and discussed with the respondent following the inspection at the end of March 2015. These concerns related to many breaches extending over a significant period of time. Despite assurances being given by the respondent, the practice continued. The conduct directly related to the respondent’s handling of client monies and placed his clients at risk. It was impossible to assess from the firm’s books and accounts its true financial position. The firm’s dealings with client monies were not transparent. The course of conduct was likely to damage the reputation of the profession. The only disposal that would reflect the seriousness of the misconduct and protect the public and the reputation of the profession was to strike the name of the respondent from the Roll of Solicitors in Scotland.

www.ssdt.org.uk

    

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