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Solicitors’ regulator closes down 16-branch conveyancing group

Group with four trading names and over 180 employees has been closed down after suspected staff dishonesty and a failure to comply with regulatory rules.

Nigel Lewis

kingly conveyancing

A large conveyancing solicitors group trading under five different names and with 16 offices has been closed down by the Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA).

The practice involved is run by Simon Hutcheson, Simon Peacock and Champika Ratnayake as Kingly Solicitors Limited, which as a group employs over 180 people.

The trading names involved are Richard Herne & Co in Bristol, Hancock Quins in Watford, Austin Ray in Milton Keynes, Ray Nixon Brown (which has nine offices across Yorkshire and County Durham) and Giffen, Couch & Archer in Leighton Buzzard.

An SRA spokesperson would only say that breaches of a serious nature had led the authority to close down all of Kingly Solicitors’ operations. This includes a failure by Hutcheson, Peacock and Ratnayake to comply with SRA rules, and a reason to suspect dishonesty on behalf of Nural Miah, who is a manager at Kingly Solicitors.

Suspended

The practising certificates of all three have been automatically suspended.

The closure by the SRA of a company is a serious sanction; it cannot trade, all its documents and papers taken away and all its money and client funds seized.

Two of its local agents will step in if house sales handled by the company are at crucial stages, or recommend vendors and buyers find new solicitors if they are earlier stages of the conveyancing process.

These agents are James Dunn of Devonshires Solicitors and John Owen of Gordons.

“The SRA will now investigate further the issues raised that have led to this intervention to see if any additional action is necessary. At this stage of the SRA’s work, no further details can be disclosed,” a statement says.

This case comes just ten months after the SRA closed down another firm of solicitors involved in conveyancing.

August 14, 2020

2 comments

  1. These are just the Solicitors that have been caught, and the SRA are not known for their Tenacity in taking up complaints against solicitors.

    Then you have the ‘Ambulance-chasers’ and those that wouldn’t exist without living off Legal Aid
    ( Tax-payers money paid out to serial offenders. Fair enough give someone legal aid the FIRST time they’re accused of something, but not recidivists – bit like putting Illegal migrants in 4* hotels instead of detention centres )

  2. A sad day, many of these solicitors I dealt with over many years; some really great first rate professionals in those practices, though clearly not all, as the Solicitors Regulatory Authority would not have taken such draconian measures. It just shows that not all solicitors, just as in other professions can not all be trusted, hopefully all the ongoing business will be safeguarded, especially anyone looking to get exchanged or completed.

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