Krystel Marzan, admitted in 2014, accepted before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal that she should have arranged for fresh signatures but insisted these were mistakes and that she had not been dishonest.

The tribunal found that Marzan had known the rules over the signing and witnessing of LPAs and that there was an obvious risk of misleading the Office of the Public Guardian by submitting them.

It was found that her motivation was to get work done in the shortest time and at the cheapest costs. ‘Inevitably this resulted in corner cutting and the respondent developing her own procedures which were seriously deficient and left her clients at risk of having an invalid deed or document,’ added the tribunal.

Marzan, 41, was a director of a Hounslow-based non-regulated company called Information Officers Limited from 2014 until it was dissolved in 2018. She had moved on to be a consultant solicitor at another firm when the OPG reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority irregularities with signed LPAs.

The original LPAs were signed and dated by the donor and then registered in the same year. But two further LPAs submitted the following year were rejected by the OPG because they contained photocopies of the original.

The tribunal heard that Marzan made no reference to using pre-signed versions of LPAs in correspondence with her client, and in any event, using a pre-signed version would not be acceptable practice.

Marzan told the SRA she did not submit photocopies of documents to the OPG. She may have asked the donor to sign more than one LPA in case errors occurred, but she could not produce evidence to show she had asked for consent for this.

Following one finding of dishonesty, Marzan advanced in mitigation that this was a ‘discrete and isolated matter’ from 2016 and that she had learned from her mistakes and closed her company.

But the tribunal found she taken a ‘thought-out path’ and had breached the trust of clients. The OPG had cancelled the LPAs and the donor was placed in a potentially serious position where his wishes might not have been carried out.

The judgment added: ‘The tribunal entreats solicitors starting out in the profession and within all specific areas of practice to thoroughly learn their craft before espousing to the public expertise they do not yet possess. It is important to speak to and take advice from more experienced colleagues to obtain insight upon the risk from departing from correct and appropriate procedures. Failure to do so, will have adverse consequences upon the client and ultimately rebound upon the solicitor.’

Marzan was struck off and ordered to pay £19,453 costs.

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