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Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal

19 February 18

Report relating to Torquil MacLeod

Torquil MacLeod

A complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Torquil F MacLeod, formerly of Torquil MacLeod & Co, 5 Longman Road, Inverness. The Tribunal found the respondent guilty of professional misconduct in respect that he charged grossly excessive fees to an executry and failed to render fee notes in respect of the fees taken. The Tribunal censured the respondent and fined him £3,000.

The Tribunal found the respondent’s conduct was sufficiently serious and reprehensible to amount to professional misconduct. He had charged fees grossly in excess of what the auditor considered to be fair and reasonable. He had done this based on an agreement to charge a percentage fee which was not included in the terms of business letter or ever reduced to writing. In addition, he failed to render those fee notes to the executors properly so that they were aware of the fees and the basis for them. Ordinarily, the Tribunal views overcharging very seriously. The respondent made a significant error of judgment. However, this was an isolated incident rather than a repeated course of conduct. He had a previously unblemished record. He admitted professional misconduct. In the circumstances of this case, the Tribunal did not consider that the public would be at risk if the respondent continued to practise unsupervised. However, the Tribunal thought it appropriate to mark the seriousness of the conduct with a substantial fine. Therefore, a fine of £3,000 was imposed.

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