CULLEY & MCALPINE DENY DISHONESTY(March 14, 2007)
A Complaint was made by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against John McLaughlin, Solicitor, 2 Tay Street, Perth (“the Respondent). The Tribunal found the Respondent guilty of professional misconduct in respect of his failure to keep clients adequately informed, failure to report on progress being made, failure to perform instructions diligently and expeditiously, failure to respond timeously or at all to the repeated reasonable enquiries made of him by his clients and his allowing an inordinate and unreasonable delay to occur in the prosecution of the claim on behalf of his clients, all contrary to the 1989 Code of Conduct for solicitors holding Practising Certificates. The Tribunal Censured the Respondent and fined him in the sum of £4,000.
The Tribunal were extremely concerned by the inordinate and wholly unreasonable period of time taken by the Respondent in this case. A solicitor has a duty to perform the instructions received from his clients to the best of his capability, diligently and without unreasonable delay. The Respondent’s conduct demonstrated a clear inability on his behalf to discharge professionally instructions given to him. The Tribunal took account of the testimonials provided and the assurance given by Counsel for the Respondent that the Respondent would continue only as a Consultant rather than a partner in future and accordingly the Tribunal did not restrict the Respondent’s Practising Certificate but marked the seriousness of the case by imposing a substantial fine