Former members of Wolstenholmes LLP have recently been disqualified as directors for trading fraudulently and failing to keep proper books and records. As is often the case, the existence of a relationship of trust, which was held to have been abused, was influential in the outcome.
Between 2012 and 2014, 6 former members of the solicitors practice were either disqualified by the Courts or by Undertaking for between 5 and the maximum 15 years.
In the most recent round of sentencing, His Honour Justice Bird commented "The Defendants involved themselves in a business in which members of the public are entitled to place absolute trust. That trust was abused at great cost to members of the public and at great cost to the Solicitors Regulation Authority and to the Solicitors Compensation Fund".
The SRA's investigation of the solicitors practice stemmed from client complaints regarding the conveyancing department. Following this investigation, as a result of the company’s actions and the shortfall on its clients account, the Solicitors Compensation Fund has had to pay out more than £13m relating to more than 2,500 former clients’ claims.