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Junior Solicitor Struck Off for Losing Documents Secures Re-Hearing

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Claire Matthews, a junior solicitor who was struck off after losing a briefcase containing legal documents on a train, lost her licence to practise law in 2020 but will now have her case heard by a new panel of the SDT, according to her solicitors Leigh Day in an announcement on Monday.

The case caused considerable concern within the legal industry as to how the Solicitors Regulation Authority prosecuted cases against junior solicitors in comparison to more senior members of the profession.

During her initial hearing, she represented herself and in addition to her disbarment, she was ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

In May last year, the Junior Lawyers Division, a subset of the Law Society which represents law students and lawyers in the early stages of their career, wrote an open letter to the SRA in which it claimed to have a “loss of confidence” in how the SRA approached cases against junior solicitors.

The JLD cited the lack of emphasis placed on lawyers with mental health issues and those who worked in toxic work environments. In the original hearing, Matthews cited suffering from mental health problems including anxiety and depression, according to the Tribunal documents.

An SRA spokesperson added: “As set out in the consent order, we agree that in these particular circumstances the new evidence brought forward should be considered by the Tribunal.”

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