Train Fare Evading Trainee Lawyer Struck Off

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Train Fare Evading Trainee Lawyer Struck Off

Daily, commuters make use of public transport in the form of buses, trains, taxis, and shank’s pony on their journeys to work. The majority are obliged to pay a small fee for the services. However, a small minority of individuals believe that the rules on paying for such transport services do not apply to them and as a consequence avoid making the required payments.

Lawyers must act with honesty and integrity in the provision of their advice, service, and in the way they conduct themselves. These principles are contained in Principles two and six of the Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles. This is to ensure that the image of the profession is upheld in the perception of the public. It is laid down by the industry regulator the Solicitors Regulation Authority as enshrined by the written Principles under the Standards and Regulations. However, contrary to popular belief this is not just whilst lawyers are working in the office, representing clients in court, or acting on any aspect of a case. The regulator has made clear that these duties extend to every aspect of their personal life too.

Is It Fare?

In early July 2022 news emerged of a lawyer who was made an example of by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for events that had taken place in his private life and which the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal interpreted to be misconduct. The Regulator submitted accusations against a lawyer who had intentionally overlooked paying the equivalent of around twelve weeks worth of railway fares.

How Did The Lawyer Respond?

To their credit when the lawyer was confronted by the allegations of train fare evasion, the lawyer openly admitted deliberately evading payment and notified the Solicitors Regulation Authority over her conduct. The trainee provided the Solicitors Regulation Authority with an apology for her actions and claimed under normal circumstances she would conduct herself appropriately.

What Did The Law Firm Decide?

However, the law firm employing the trainee reviewed the evidence. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the length of time the fare evasion took place, and the fact that the allegations have been notified the law firm felt they had no alternative but to terminate the trainee’s employment forthwith. This was because the lawyer had the monies available to pay for her transport. However, the trainee had made the deliberate decision to avoid paying the fare for just shy of a staggering eighty-five percent of her work-related journeys.

Pages Turned…Lessons Learned

This circumstances surrounding this case are a much-needed reminder to those involved in the legal profession to think very carefully before committing to a decision not to pay their train fares on work-related business. It is a lesson to all legal professionals to avoid complacency when it comes to evading train fares and complying with the National Rail Conditions of Travel. The profession holds dear the principles of honesty and integrity.

Lawyers should be ensuring they are:

  • acting with honesty and integrity by paying their obligations regarding train fares
  • avoiding evading detection by the respective inspector and
  • pay the respective fare for transport.

Lawyers need to realize the importance of conducting themselves just as professionally in their private lives as in their professional lives.

If they follow this executive strategy, it will reduce the likelihood of a lawyer being sanctioned by the Regulator for failing to make payments about their transport costs. As a result of the conduct, the lawyer was barred from working in the profession and was handed down a costs order for three thousand pounds.

The Legists Content Team

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THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES

[1] Bennett, Paul – A question of honesty: solicitor struck off for fare evasion – 5th July 2022 – The Law Society - A question of honesty: solicitor struck off for fare evasion | The Law Society

[2] Principle 2 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[3] Principle 6 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[4] Section 31 Solicitors Act 1974

[5] Section 9 Administration Act 1985

[6] Section 83 Legal Services Act 2007

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