A solicitor who charged grade A fees for work he had not carried out himself has been struck off the roll.

Pravin Jugdaohsingh, formerly with London firm RHJ Devonshire, endorsed a statement of costs presented to the Business and Property Court in 2019 which came to £85,000 in total, a figure which included his own hourly rate of £450.

But most of the work on the litigation dispute had been carried out and invoiced by a consultant solicitor collaborating with the firm, who had made an advanced fees agreement. She had raised an invoice two weeks before the costs hearing charging fees and disbursements worth around £28,500.

Before the court and future master of the rolls Sir Geoffrey Vos, counsel instructed by Jugdaohsingh said the costs claimed were only the firm’s costs of the proceedings. Based on the contents of the costs schedule and the submissions made before court, the final costs were assessed as £65,000.

The misconduct was uncovered two years later during arbitration proceedings between Jugdaohsingh and KTS Legal, with whom he had previously been involved in a joint venture agreement.

The arbitrator had asked whether Jugdaohsingh had claimed for 16 hours’ personal attendance, to which he replied that he had. But he later admitted that the consultant solicitor had done some of the work and that his signed costs schedule was not true. KTS Legal made a report to the SRA and the solicitor accepted he had completed the statement of costs inaccurately and made an incorrect statement to the arbitrator.

Jugdaohsingh, 46, made a regulatory settlement agreement with the SRA that he should be struck off. He offered in mitigation, which was not agreed by the SRA, that his misconduct was not motivated by greed or a desire for additional profit and there was no evidence of actual loss to anyone. The misconduct, he submitted, consisted of two isolated incidents against the context and an otherwise unblemished professional career.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that Jugdaohsingh made untruthful and material statements to the High Court and an arbitrator to the potential detriment of others.

Dishonesty, where proven is inherently serious and it causes great harm to the standing of the profession in the eyes of the public,’ said the tribunal. ‘Here, the respondent had claimed for work which he knew he had not carried out and he had then not been truthful to the High Court when signing the statement of costs, nor to an arbitrator when later questioned about it.’

Jugdaohsingh, a solicitor for 20 years, was struck off and ordered to pay £10,650 costs.

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