A paralegal has been barred from the profession after dishonestly trying to cover up an error on a property sale.
Amy Hannah Whiting was removed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority despite having the backing of her firm, Leeds practice Blacks Solicitors.
Whiting, who worked in the firm’s property department, had acted for a client on the sale of new build houses being constructed on an estate. Exchange of contracts had taken place on the basis of an incorrect plan, and when that came to light Whiting sent a revised plan to the buyer’s solicitor. To conceal her error, she created and backdated a letter to the buyer’s solicitor purporting to enclose the updated plan.
According to an SRA notice published this week, Blacks conducted an internal investigation which resulted in a written warning for Whiting, and reported the issue to the regulator.
In mitigation, she said the firm had considered her conduct, offered additional support and decided to keep her in post. At the time of the conduct, which she admitted, she was under a lot of pressure due to volume of work and dealing with very difficult personal circumstances.
Whiting said she had been working hard since the incident, which dated back to January 2019, to honour the trust placed in her by the firm. There had been no other incidents or concerns about her conduct before or after this matter.
But the SRA and Whiting agreed that a section 43 order, which bans her from working for any regulated firm, was appropriate because she had been shown to be dishonest and could mislead her clients. She will also have to pay £300 costs.
The Law Society Gazette