A SCARBOROUGH solicitor has been fined after a “serious” breach of practice.
Franklyn Garvey, of Tubbs and Co, Victoria Road, was ordered to pay £20,000 by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal after failing to ensure a client took independent legal advice about her will.
However, the body said there was no allegation Mr Garvey had dishonestly or unduly influenced the client – referred to only as Miss EK.
Mr Garvey told the Evening News yesterday he remained committed to his profession.
A report from the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal said: “Contrary to rule 1 a, c and d of the Solicitors Practice Rules 1990 and principle 15.05 of the Guide to Professional Conduct of Solicitors 1999, the respondent had failed to ensure that Miss EK, was advised to take independent advice as to the legacies that she intended to leave the respondent and members of his family in her will.
“The respondent had failed to ensure that Miss EK was advised to take independent advice in respect of the terms of a deed of variation of the will of Miss AMK under which the respondent and members of his family benefited; and the respondent had acted or continued to act for Miss EK when there was a conflict between her interests and his interests and those of his family.
“The Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal had been made aware in the course of the proceedings that Miss EK’s estate had been over £800,000, so the benefit to the respondent and his family from the will and deed of variation was significant.
“The tribunal was concerned the respondent had apparently not been aware of the principle, which should have been obvious to any solicitor in practice at the relevant time, that wherever a client proposed to leave a significant gift to a solicitor under a will, that client must be advised to take independent legal advice, and if that advice was not taken, the solicitor should not continue to act.”
Mr Garvey said he had taken responsibility for the matter and was resolutely focused on continuing to serve in the Scarborough area. He said: “By way of oversight a Rule of my Professional Code of Conduct was breached during a period of employment with the firm for which I then worked.
“As a professional person, I have taken the appropriate responsibility for that which has occurred and the matter is now closed. I remain committed to my Practice of Criminal Law within the locality and the continuation of this provision of that service to the community.”
The tribunal also ordered him to pay £9,643.