A solicitor who ran a business in Preston has been struck off after an investigation.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found that Timothy Schools, who ran ATM Solicitors in the city, ‘failed to act with integrity’.
The tribunal found Schools acted where there was conflict of interests and acting in a manner which led to his independence and that of ATM Solicitors being compromised.
10 allegations were brought against Schools by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The SRA’s allegations involved Schools and ATM Solicitors acting on behalf of clients who challenged the enforceability of various Consumer Credit Agreements.
The Tribunal found he was the subject of very serious charges, almost every aspect of which had been proved against him. The seriousness of the misconduct was aggravated by the fact that the respondent’s actions were ‘quite deliberate and continued for a period of time’.
The Tribunal ordered that Schools be struck off the Roll of Solicitors and ordered that he pay the costs of the enquiry asking that he makes an interim payment of £60,000.00 to the applicants costs.
Schools did not attend the hearing and has 21 days from receipt of the SDT’s judgement to appeal. He asked the tribunal that any finding made should be stayed pending an appeal. The Tribunal said it was not disposed to grant a stay of sanction as the public needed to be protected.
The ex-solicitor had appeared been before the Tribunal on two previous occasions.
Gordon Ramsay, SRA Director of Legal and Enforcement, said: “This is Mr Schools’ second appearance at the Tribunal for similar breaches of the Code of Conduct. His deliberate conduct fell so far below the standard required of a solicitor that striking off was the only appropriate course of action.”
Financial and personal injury claims specialist ATM, which is based in Preston, was established in 2009.